PMI Silicon Valley Chapter

Open Space Sessions

Open Space

You know how sometimes the best conversations at an in-person conference are the ones you have between sessions, over a coffee, or in the corridor?  Well, imagine if a conference was all conversations like that!  An Open Space is a fully participant-driven conference format.  The organizers simply plan a theme, arrange for a number of sessions in a number of breakout rooms.  The participants do the rest!  This means that the topics under consideration are up-to-date, of current interest to the community, and generated by that same community.  The topic should be relevant to the theme, of course, but beyond that, anything goes.  The only limit is the number of available session slots and what you want to talk about!

How It Works

The Day Before:

  • We'll remind you to think about session topics you'd find interesting. 

Open Space Day:

  • We explain how Open Space works, then invite everyone to propose, very briefly, a topic to present, discuss, or if they're just curious about it.  This is known as The Marketplace.
  • Proposed topics are given a slot in one of the breakout rooms, for one of the sessions.
    • Sessions run for 50 minutes or so, followed by a short break.
  • Participants join the Zoom breakout room for the current topic they're interested in.
    • The proposer ensures the conversation takes place, and asks someone to act as recorder to capture highlights and outcomes.
    • If there are no topics for that session that interest you, we’ll have some “spare” breakout rooms where you can network or have a casual chat.
  • We expect to have time for three sessions in the morning, and one or two in the afternoon (the schedule is still being designed).
  • We end the Open Space by coming together to share highlights and outcomes, and to celebrate the Open Space!

If you want to know more about Open Space Technology, here are some great references: