8Open Space

We want to run a rehearsal process for our EQUIS assessment, and a strategy development day for about 180 people simultaneously. Are we being too ambitious? Can you help us?

I had run the annual “team day” for this business school community of academics and administrators for the past two years. The first year we introduced Appreciative Inquiry to help bolster their creativity and innovation, the second year was focused on the student experience. This was the most ambitious objective yet. Throughout the day, teams of people would be disappearing to table discussions in a simulation of a forthcoming, very important, assessment process. At the same time, the body as a whole was to engage with three strands of strategic thinking around: the student experience, the balance of teaching and learning and research, and the integration of services.

The challenge was to create a design for the event that would facilitate the people involved in the simulation to leave and rejoin at specified times, and one that also allowed three themes of discussion. Working with the planning team, I designed a day based on Open Space Technology that would allow the rehearsal assessment panels to run concurrently with a strategy development conversation. In addition, we worked with the technology department to create “video tweets” of the different discussions, and a “voting” process at the close of the day to help identify the most important ideas and suggestions from the various discussions. ...

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