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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just enough to get you started, 7 Dec 2008
By 
P. Aspden (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide. (Paperback)
This is an excellent book by the originator of the process. It is simply written but dont let that deceive you, the concepts it contains are very important and elegantly expressed. Harrison Owen is a great proponent of 'less is more' and the book will tell you what you need to know without conferring too much importance on your role as the facilitator - let it happen and it will.
This book has been my only trainng and we now run these events regularly and succesfully - Thank you Harrison.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Open Space is awesome, 21 Jun 2014
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Mr. R. Redpath (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide. (Paperback)
Open Space Technology is a fantastic way to run gatherings of all sizes. I've been a participant in a number of Open Spaces and they've universally been helpful, fun and productive. I'm running my first one soon, and having read this book I feel like I understand the process well enough to deliver an Open Space gathering myself. Well-written, friendly style, lots of sharing of practical advice but nothing prescriptive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating aproach to particpatory events, 27 May 2013
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As someone who is deeply committed to participatory working at all levels this book grabbed me from the minute I started reading it and I am currently planning to put it into practice for the first time. It is clearly written with a good balance of practical information shared experience and the thinking and philosophy behind the approach. I can't understand how it took me so long to find it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Generally clear guide on how to run, & the circumstances in which one would choose to use, an Open Space event., 14 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide. (Paperback)
If you have a 'significant' problem with no clear way forward, lots of conflicting interests and people caring about the issues; then OST may be a much more useful tool than a conventional conference/meeting. EG Inter-tribal warfare over land access has been proven to be an very suitable subject (the real issues are largely unknown, communication has broken down, no-one knows how to solve and local people care passionately) but rolling-out a new software database across a big corporation would be unsuitable (known solution - just train on it and individuals get on and use!)

Harrison says OST is usable with 5 to 2000+ participants over a 1 to 3 day conference. I have experienced a 60 person event over a half day and it was both 'enjoyable' and 'productive'. Enjoyable because I felt 'heard' and productive because it threw up ideas and concepts from a wide group of participants from many disciplines who were interested/concerned about the subject and gave 'management' some new ideas about how they might move forward (which was the aim.)

I bought the book 'hoping' that it would explain (sell) the concept to leaders who had not come across it before and 'teach' on how to run such an event. I had immediately thought of three totally different areas I was in touch with where OST might be appropriate (but I wasn't the leader so could only suggest the use of OST as an idea!) My first copy has already been taken to Africa to be proposed for possible use in an 'intractable' (tribal 'rights') problem and I have ordered two more for the other two possible candidate areas that I am concerned in - one very local about how we residents in a 'deprived' area should spend the considerable sum of money we have been allocated to 'improve' our area; the other being somewhere between these two extremes.

If I have any negative critisism, it is that the book goes too quickly from overview, and stories of where it has worked, into detail of how to run an Open Space event with further stories and more 'overview' material interspersed there. Brilliant for the potential practitioner who has already experienced an OST event but not quite suitable for 'selling' as a possible solution unless the 'recommender' (me in this case) can suggest to the 'intended sponsor' which bits to read first and on which (s)he can decide whether there is a possible way forward via OST and whether it is going to be worthwhile their reading the whole text!

If you have heard of, or experienced, OST and have a situation where OST is a potential way forward - then whether you are the 'sponsor' or merely recommending OST to the sponsor you will find this book extremely helpful in deciding whether OST is appropriate for your event and will explain how you could run an effective Open Space event. The book contains fully descriptive guidelines - you merely need to find (may be you!) a 'facilitator' (and sponsor) who is prepared to 'allow' the meeting, trusting the people without being 'in control' (no pre-planned agenda etc), and see what comes out of it. (Be warned the lack of control can be scary but is essential to allow 'the people' to propose ways forward - the book gives guidance, with examples, on when not to attempt OST because the lack of control is 'unacceptable' to the 'sponsors'!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Firsttime User, 26 Aug 2011
By 
R. Iain F. Brown (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide. (Paperback)
I found this easy to get into and understand and I was able to design a day for my church Vision Day in c ouple of hours.
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Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide.
Open Space Technology.: A User's Guide. by Harrison Owen (Paperback - 1 Jun 2008)
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