What is an “Unconference”? What is Open Space?
The JRPC “Unconference” events are participant generated events. Those who come decide the questions and topics that get care and attention. The “Unconference” format has been popular among those in the computer software world because the that world changes so fast. The need for creativity and emergent leadership makes this format especially helpful for helping that field evolve.
The “Unconference” format comes from something called “Open Space Technology”, which was a term coined by Harrison Owen who first discovered and practiced this process in the mid 1980’s, and it has been repeated with great success tens or perhaps even hundred’s of thousands of times by thousands of practitioners around the globe.
“Open Space” starts in a circle where a community is invited to come together around a theme or central question, and everyone is invited to announce and post the topics and questions they are willing to take responsibility for leading. This leadership is invited, and all participants are invited to follow their own individual passion and responsibility towards areas where they can either learn, or contribute. Everyone is allowed the space to make the event as great as they can at all times. And at the end of the day, we get back together in a circle to reflect on the day.
You can learn more about “Open Space Technology” with the following books and links:
Open Space Technology: A Users Guide – by Harrison Owen
Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance – by Harrison Owen
The Practice of Peace – by Harrison Owen
The Open Space Institute’s “About Open Space” Page