Information Insights provides facilitation for meetings of many types and sizes. In some circumstances, we use a meeting style called Open Space Technology. Less a facilitation technique than a philosophy of empowering groups to do their best work, this approach to meetings is one we have found to be particularly effective when the participants have passion for the topic and strong desire to help develop solutions or effective plans
Open Space provides one way to enable all kinds of people to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 15 years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.
In Open Space meetings, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy that all stakeholders can support and work together to create? The participants largely self-facilitate their own breakout groups, with constant assistance and support from the facilitators. With groups of five to 1,000 the common result is a powerful, effective connecting and strengthening of what’s already happening in the organization: planning and action, learning and doing, passion and responsibility, participation and performance.
Open Space works best when the work to be done is complex, the people and ideas involved are diverse, the passion for resolution (and potential for conflict) are high, and the time to get it done was yesterday. It’s been called passion bounded by responsibility, the energy of a good coffee break, intentional self-organization, spirit at work, chaos and creativity, evolution in organization, and a simple, powerful way to get people and organizations moving – when and where it’s needed most.
And, while Open Space at first glance presents an apparent lack of structure, it turns out that the Open Space meeting is actually very structured – but that structure is so perfectly fitted to the people and the work at hand, it goes unnoticed in its proper role of supporting (not blocking) best work. In fact, the stories and work plans woven in Open Space are generally more complex, robust and durable – and can move a great deal faster than expert- or management-driven designs.
We never know exactly what will happen when we open the space for people to do important work, but we can guarantee when any group gets into Open Space:
• All of the issues that are MOST important to the participants will be raised.
• All of the issues raised will be addressed by those participants most qualified and capable of getting something done on each of them.
In a time as short as one or two days, all of the most important ideas, discussion, data, recommendations, conclusions, questions for further study, and plans for immediate action will be documented in one comprehensive report – and in many cases the summary can be finished, printed and in the hands of participants when they leave.
Information Insights conducted a series of four regional summits … which were very successful, due to their careful planning and use of Open Space meeting technology
L. Diane Casto, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Behavioral Health
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January 11th, 2012
The Lost Alaskans: Morningside Hospital History Project has received the Alaska Historical Society‘s 2011 Pathfinder Award. According to the Society’s website:
The Pathfinder Award is given to an individual or several individuals who have indexed or prepared guides to Alaska historical material that has not been accessible. The 2011 Pathfinder award goes to the Lost Alaskans: Morningside Hospital History Project, and its primary researchers Ellen Ganley, Meg Greene, Karen Perdue, Robin Renfroe, Niejse Steinkruger, Sally Mead, Deborah Smith, Marylou Elton, and Vivian Hamilton. This group has worked to uncover the documentary record of mental health care during the years in which Alaskans were institutionalized out of state at Morningside Hospital. Their work not only helps reveal the past, but has had an impact on the lives of living family members seeking to understand what happened to their relatives.
November 6th, 2010
Information Insights and Agnew::Beck worked with the Student Advisory Board for the Anchorage School District to gather input on upcoming budget cuts from the people who may be impacted most – the students themselves. Senior consultant Cady Lister was impressed by the serious reflection the students gave the issue when asked what the district should do. “It was a great meeting,” said Lister. “We had 51 engaged, intelligent, and thoughtful middle and high schoolers thinking about what they value in education, what being educated means, as well as ways to fill the budget shortfall.”
July 2nd, 2010
Interior residents will have a chance to share their insights on the Fairbanks economy through an effort sponsored by the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The web based survey, which went live today, will allow Fairbanksans to share their thoughts and insights on the area’s economy for the Fairbanks Community Economic Development Visioning Project. Interested members of the public can complete the survey online until Friday, July 23. Survey questions are designed to solicit ideas from local residents on what’s working well in our economy, what might be upcoming opportunities and what barriers could stand in the way. Continue Reading »