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Open Space Technology Practice Retreat

A three-day program to cultivate the essence of Open Space leadership -- April 18-20, 2006 at Rivendell, Bowen Island, BC.

Open Space Technology

OpenSpaceTechnology (OST) is a transformative facilitation practice that was created in the mid-1980s by organizational consultant Harrison Owen. OST events have no keynote speakers, no pre-announced schedules of workshops, no panel discussions, no organizational booths. Instead, participants create their own agenda together, to address a clearly-stated collective purpose. They host small group discussions and produce a set of proceedings, practicing implicit principles of self-organization and the power of passion, invitation and personal responsibility.

Through an intentional combination of order and chaos, OST resembles the creative act of a mind moving from confusion and frustration to assimilation and discovery, but OST achieves this transition not in one mind, but simultaneously in many. Intense, focused discussion leads to mutual recognition of areas of agreement and disagreement. This lays the ground for knowledgeable participation in an action program that begins with the publication of a full report on the groupís findings.

The process creates a unique spirit of community and introduces new possibilities for organizing work in communities and organizations through invitation. In short, Open Space Technology gets people and information moving forward together.

The Practice Retreat

This is an intensive retreat for leaders, managers, facilitators, consultants, community activists, and anyone else who wants to open more space for renewal, visioning, learning and productivity -- in business, government, educational and community organizations. This is an opportunity for deep learning about leadership and change, in the context of the practices that support facilitating Open Space.

Who Should Come?

Leaders, managers and facilitators working with very complex issues, requiring the cooperation of diverse stakeholders, where conflict is quite possible (if not already present), and where there is an urgent need for right action. Anyone looking for a way to get beyond business as usual, for better, faster and cheaper results on our most important issues and opportunities will find benefit here. The depth of this program has much to offer the most seasoned leaders and facilitators, including experienced users of OpenSpaceTechnology.

Who Will Lead?

Chris Corrigan is an highly experienced practitioner and teacher of Open Space Technology. He has conducted over 100 events in a wide range situations including the corporate sector, First Nations communities, non-profits, universities and government in Canada, the USA and New Zealand. He co-hosted the International Conference for Open Space Practitioners in Vancouver in 2001 and is a member of the Open Space Institute (US) and the Open Space Institute of Canada. Along with Michael Herman he co-edited Open Space Technology: A User's NON-Guide in 2002. Along with Harrison Owen and others he has contributed to the Open Space Technology chapter in the forthcoming second edition of [The Change Handbook]. In addition to his extensive practical experience facilitating Open Space events, he is known for his ability to inspire deep learning and passionate conversation. You can find out more about Chris at [his website.]

Michael Herman is an internationally recognized Open Space Technology facilitator whose writings about The Inviting Organization and other online publications are an important contribution to the worldwide practice of Open Space Technology. He has worked for more than eight years with Harrison Owen, the creator of Open Space Technology and was the co-host of the eighth annual Open Space on Open Space international gathering of Open Space Technology facilitators in Chicago in 1999. Michael's practice has included work with some of the largest corporations in the United States as well as community and youth groups around the world. A former director for the Open Space Institute USA, he is the founding webmaster for the online centre of Open Space Technology at His own personal/professional website is at

What Will Happen?

Facilitating Open Space Technology is different from most facilitation. Over many years, a body of knowledge has built up around what it means to "hold space" rather than to direct a group. This program teaches the essential practices of facilitating Open Space Technology, but the practices you will learn and explore here are applicable to many other processes of dialogue and deliberation. We will look at each practice from multiple perspectives, as facilitators, as leaders and sponsors, and as the participants in an Open Space Technology meeting.

The three days will flow like this:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

This is a three day residential retreat. We ask that you are able to commit to all three days, if possible, to maximize everyone's learning.

How to Prepare?

To prepare for the retreat we ask you to do the following:

Optionally, you may also wish to do the following:

What People Say

"Thanks for a fantastic workshop. You have a real gift and I've definitely come way from this experience with a renewed sense of direction." -- Public servant, Practice workshop participant

"Every word he says is nuanced by and guided by the Four Practices. I learned more in an hour of conversation with him (including learning about myself) than I have ever learned in a week of intensive study. And the critical content of the conversation is never analysis or argument, but contextual stories." -- weblogger and visionary [Dave Pollard]

"Thanks...for your skill and generosity of Spirit over this week. I have learned tons. I have a glimpse into the potential for opening space and I'm excited to continue the practice." -- community organizer, vancouver

"I have opened space in all my workshops since [the training] and it has really been well received. I have not been conducting Open Space in the classic version but have blended it with my own style of working. It has been working wonders. OPEN space to OPEN hearts. Please keep sharing your experiences. It gives us tremendous energy." --community organizer in mumbai, india

"Many thanks. Time to act." --consultant, hong kong


This is a residential retreat hosted at Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island, BC, Canada. Rivendell is a relaxing and inspiring location, settled on 6.5 acres atop Cates Hill, with maginificent views of mountains, forest and shining sea. Bowen Island is a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, which itself is a 30 minute drive or bus ride from downtown Vancouver.


The early-registration cost for training tuition is CA$950 (payment received before April 1st). Tuition cost after April 1st is CA$1050. The cost for meals and accomodation for three days and nights is CA$320 (less $50 if arriving morning of April 18th). Total cost (for tuition, accomodation, materials and meals) can be paid in one cheque or credit card by clicking the button below. (button forthcoming) Limited discounts or scholarships may be available for community organizations, group registrations, and those in need of financial assistance, when paid before April 1st.

For more information on registration please call Caitlin Frost at (604) 947-9236 or email

Registration Information

To Register, [please download this form] and send it with your cheque to:

 Caitlin Frost
 RR1 E3
 Bowen Island, BC  V0N 1G0
 or email it to: []

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Last edited September 15, 2006 10:36 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
© 1998-2020 Michael Herman and, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael