Open Space at EuroComm18 – how to make the most of it?

Following the success of a World Café at EuroComm in Rotterdam in 2016, day two of the 2018 conference allows for participants and speakers to join in a structured discussion of their most pressing issues around the theme of the conference – “Technology, Communications and Participation”.

Our Open Space sessions on the theme of will create an opportunity to get to the bottom of the issues that are most pressing for YOU – EuroComm participants. Open Space will enable all high powered professional communicators in the room to share their insights and knowledge of issues of common concern – and to create the basis for collaborative work going forward.

The true power of Open Space Technology is that the design of the event inverts the entire paradigm of “the conference.” In an Open Space, spectators become participants and consumers become speakers and contributors. Networking and making connections with other participants isn’t a sideshow, conducted fleetingly in coffee breaks or sneaky cigarette pauses. It’s the main show, as people come together, through a light but firm facilitative touch and a proven organisational structure, in conversation and collaboration.

Your Open Space facilitator: Ian Andersen, Participatory Leadership Adviser, European Commission, Brussels

Ian, what would be the question to give our participants maximum value and what would generate the most Open Space Evangelists?

Ian: I first thought, “How can we co-create value together by leveraging communication and participation?”

But I was not really happy with that.

Then I thought: “Participation first? How can we co-create communication value with our audience?”

I was not really happy with that either, so I thought: “What are the changes communicators need to embrace to truly engage their audiences?”

I like this one a lot better. It opens the door for a discussion between tech, tools, and participation – while focusing on the desired outcome: more engagement. So I feel happy.

Top tips for your best Open Space experience:

1) It is about participation. Participate, approach it with open mind and mindfulness of being present and really listen to what is happening. Be open to what the conversations bring to you – if you have an issue that you would like to share. Real value for the participants is to be able to throw around ideas and have the discussion with some of the best people in the business. This is an unique chance to participate in discussions and launch them.

2) Ground rules. It is a mostly self-organized process with almost invisible facilitation, with a few ground rules and one law: the law of two feet – if you feel you are not learning or contributing, please use your two feet and join another conversation. Or “bumblebee” around and cross-pollinate different conversations. If you are not passionate about any of the conversations, take a break, have a coffee and you will maybe meet another “butterfly” and have a chat– that may end up being the conversation of a lifetime.

3) Connect and continue conversation after the Open Space is over. In Copenhagen, the intention is to record the outcomes at the conference, to share them, and then invite participants to extend the actions beyond the conference – there will be an opportunity for the attendees to pin the business card to the topic they wish to engage with further.

Posted in EuroComm conference.