Open Space Technology
What is Open Space Technology?
Open Space Technology, an interactive means of creating results and action, enables participants to set their own agenda, pursue their own ideas, and collaborate towards the best results. This year at the Spitzer Forum, participants will have the opportunity to work with their peers in exploring innovative, creative, interactive means to affect sustainability and environmental issues on their campus and in their community using open space technology. Spitzer Forum will offer the first step for student collaboration in creating new ideas leading to initiatives, campaigns or projects that impact the campus community in a significant way, are based on Jewish values, and build towards sustainable environment outcomes. After the Spitzer Forum, student teams will receive support from the Tzedek Hillel department at the Schusterman International Center to help develop proposals for Outstanding Student Initiatives grants, enabling ideas to become reality.
How does it work?
Through a facilitated process, participants share their ideas and issues with the entire group. The strength of Open Space Technology is the next step, when participants choose to join discussions, based on their peers’ ideas that are of interest to them, they feel they can contribute to, or learn from. By the end of the session, new ideas have been created, passions shared, and next steps for action laid out.
What are examples of ideas I could suggest during Open Space?
What impact can you create? Think of your goal, and then remember, in order to instigate change, a critical mass needs to be involved. While it is up to you to be innovative, creative, and passionate, here are a few examples:
• Achieve 100% clean energy policy on your campus
• Solar-power design contest
• Do It in the Dark – campus-wide energy-saving competition
• Interfaith teach-in on Earth Day
Guidelines for Open Space*
1. Whoever comes are the right people.
The fundamental requirement is people who care to do something. And by showing up, that essential care is demonstrated.
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Don't try to control the discussion - even if it goes off on a tangent -- that may be exactly the direction for the breakthrough of new ideas. Follow the energy of the group.
3. Whenever it starts is the right time.
Don't wait for some specific person to arrive; begin with whomever is drawn to the discussion.
4. When it's over, it's over.
In a word, don’t waste time. Do what you have to do, and when it is done, move on to something more useful.
There is only one law: The Law of Two Feet (which, because not everyone has two feet, can also be called the Law of Motion and Responsibility):
If an individual feels he or she is neither learning from nor contributing to a discussion, they move to another discussion, without waiting for the group to complete its conversation. Fresh insights and creative thoughts are needed elsewhere. The result is a room alive with movement and animated discussion as people travel from group to group to use their best energy and thinking where it is most needed.
*Adapted from Steve Cochran, Sustainability Strategies, LLC.
When is Open Space Technology?
• Monday, February 26, 10:00am