Open Space

Method of collective intelligence that allows discussion and research to be constructed around a topic across several workshops With this method several aspects of a theme can be covered by a very large group, leaving the participant free to select their own discussion topics The events programme is defined jointly with all the participants at the start of the workshop, thus determining how the event is to proceed.

Innovation phase


Activity type

  • Idea generation





Level of involvement



30 to 500


Users who understand the issue and have personal experience of the subject

Operational team

One general moderator, as many secretaries/workshop managers as there are discussion subjects (secretary/moderator is a participant, responsible for their own group), logisticians to ensure smooth practical organisation.


A large circle of chairs for plenary sessions attended by all participants; small circles of chairs for workshop sessions, marketplace, Grand Journal, newsroom

Materials required

Flipchart, pens, felt-tips, Post-it notes, computers


One topic addressed by very large number of people Encouragement of free expression and promotion of the selection of priority subjects Establish a networking ambiance

Important points

Risk that some subjects will not be covered in depth Requires considerable monitoring during and after the event


  • Selection of topic to be covered
  • Printing and posting of Open Space rules in the plenary room
  • Printing of report sheets for each workshop
  • Printing of 'program' worksheet for each participant
  • Printing and posting of blank timetables for the day
  • Preparation of computers
  • Arrange catering: provide drinks and food in accordance with the number of participants
  • Recruitment and briefing of supervisory team.
  • Invitation of participants according to typical user profile



30 min

Welcome to participants, inviting them to register their details and take their places in the plenary session.


During the plenary session, the moderator explains the concept, proceedings and objectives of the day. He also explains the Open Space rules to all participants (see 'Open Space rules' worksheet).

Idea generation phase

30 min

In a plenary session the participants voluntarily suggest a discussion subject to the rest of the group and display on the wall, in the 'Marketplace', the question they would like to cover in the workshop.

  • The moderator explains to the participant the principle behind 'subject proposals', and states that each topic 'owner' will be responsible for their workshop's moderation and report.
  • The moderator leads the discussion of the number of subjects desired.

Choice of subjects

15 min

The participants are invited to stand in front of the 'marketplace' area and choose the workshops in which they wish to participate.

  • The participants record the workshops on their 'programme' worksheet
  • The moderator announces the timings and launches the Workshop phase


3x30 min

The participants are invited to distribute themselves in the workshops in small groups of a maximum of 15 people each.

  • The workshop leader launches the discussion and makes notes on his transcription sheet ('Report' worksheet).
  • The participants chat and are free to come and go as they see fit

    Three workshop sessions are organised during the event

Newsroom and reading of reports in plenary session

After each workshop, workshop managers are invited to type up the reports on their discussion on newsroom computers. The principal moderator prints the reports as they are produced, and displays them so that each participant can see them.chaque participant puisse en prendre connaissance.


30 min

The participants are invited to rejoin the main circle in the plenary session. Each participant states, in one sentence, his feelings about the event and about the discussions in which he took part.

Transmission of results

  • Reports sent to each participant

  • Optionnal : produce an article about the workshop