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The open-space meeting is a very specific and influential concept of an open space conference, and an example of a meeting system. The pure original form of such a meeting requires that individuals participate without prior groupings or agendas, and that they accept the agendas and groupings that arise from the open-space meeting process, with only minimal restrictions on scope. Some believe that the original idea is closely associated with "The Forum" and is promoted by that group primarily.
Less controversial variations, discussed more generally in the article on open space conferences, allow prior restrictions on scope, agenda, and groupings, e.g. couples or interest groups or tendency or factions or even formal parties. These are opposed by promoters of the pure original open-space concept as being likely to sanctify groupthink, and impose some precedent ideas of the subject matter, since 'existing discourses' are being imported and can continue within the conference, e.g. two people who agree on a matter strongly can all attend the same sub-circles and continue to back each other up, reducing the chance that either of them will learn anything, or that anyone can learn anything from them.
Because it requires that all participants contribute to the definition of scope, the general agenda, the specific agendas guiding the sub-groups or sub-circles (an essential feature of the original Open Space Meeting which cannot by definition be held all in the same room with all participants), the pure Open Space Meeting can be considered a variation of a WikiWiki, and producing collective text, e.g. as is done in treaty negotiation, is a major purpose of such meetings. However, the scheduling of sub-circles in parallel or in series, determining what circles one must ignore to pursue others, is a major difference: there is no requirement in any form of WikiWiki that contributors to one aspect of a text forgo contributing to others. This is, however, considered to be a feature of an Open Space Meeting.
- Worldwide Open Space Website
- On-line Open Space Meetings
- Opening Space for Collaboration and Communication by Lisa Heft
- Anatomy of an Open Space Event photos of the process
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