These are reflections from Agnes and Marco about Open Space Technology which was used during the face-to-face phase of the 2nd FAO KS Workshop.

Interview with Agnes
Agnes’ first words were: lots of new Ideas! And the interview could have stopped there. But there’s more. She came to the workshop with specific needs so throughout the process she always kept her ears and eyes wide open to pick up every little detail.
Open Space was engaging, constructive and a good learning experience.  How? The idea of people with specific needs converging and discussing real issues was great.  Agnes felt fully involved and was glad to hear experiences from a diverse group of people.  In particular, she found the session on Intranets very remarkable since it gave her hints for concrete application in her work space.
Besides the content discussed, Agnes particularly enjoyed the process of Open Space (and other methods) because it gave her the opportunity to interact with other participants. The social aspect of the process helped to share and take in from the whole experience.

Interview with Marco
Marco’s idea of attending the workshop was to explore tools and methods used in knowledge sharing. Open Space among other methods experimented, was an experience he found good for motivating participation.  This was particularly with the concept of having participants develop their own agenda. He was skeptical about this at first, but later appreciated the freedom and democracy the approach gave to the participants.
Marco’s observation about the sessions was that there was a mix between specific and more general topics. He points out that much as the process was quite engaging; especially in delicious and community radio sessions, content was not fully analyzed in others. He admits that generally, he benefited not only in understanding content but also application of the processes.
He appreciates the fact that his quest has been met given that the exposure he has received will help him find possible applications in his work.

Other participants have also added their feedback:

All other posts regarding the workshop are at:

Have a look at Nancy White’s post on the KS Workshop. Her reflections will be followed soon here by a summary of the participant’s feedback.

Nancy White and workshop participants

Nancy White and workshop participants

The face-to-face part of the KS workshop has come to a successful end. During the meeting, we tried out many different KS Tools and Methods. After each “experiment”, we debriefed the content (as it related to real issue we are working on), process and possible applications. In addition to the posts that Simone has already mentioned on a previous posting, I have now added the following:
Day 3

Day 2

I am still catching up; I hope to add the final few in the next few days. Meantime, you can also take a look at our photo gallery and updates on the KS Toolkit Wiki.

It exists several Content Management Systems (CMS) on the market. They are proposing different features and tools. We have to evaluate what are our needs and the best system adapted for them. Most the other tools could be integrating  more easily with the CMS.

A other tool, Delicious is useful to share bookmarks online to people with the same interests.

All the RSS links (delicious, news…) can be imported on a website and the updating is automaticlly.

I have appreciated the value of using open space methods – not just for a specific workshop but as a way to work with colleagues and create an open and creative work environment.

Why not use this for your regular weekly/monthly meetings with your staff. Let them choose the topics to discuss and let there an open discussion on these.

Why not use this to create the strategy for your area or the organization’s external communication strategy etc. This will be excellent for the brainstorming component of developing a strategy. Let staff select topics e.g. how to use the web better in our communications, how the organization can capitalize more on using tagging, etc. Let staff attend and get involved in which areas they are most interested in.

If there are too many people for everyone to contribute or if there are many different points of view, I think the Samoan Circle could be a variation to apply to a particular topic.

Why not have these methods as part of normal ways the team works together!

I have really appreciate the “open space market place”. I like this method because it allows for a lot of freedom, including stepping out. I need more time to digest, filter all the knowledge shared and allow seed to germinate.

What to do next: Not sure at this time. As initial thoughts: Promote “open space market place” in my service, e.g. as a replacement to staff meeting. Colleagues will propose topics on a board, a time for discussion, lead the discussion and somebody taking notes.

When back to office I would like to start promoting “KS” with both senior management (for example with “culture change group” ) and colleagues (e.g. talking of this workshop).

Values from Open Space:

FEBY noted that from previous experiences, every Open Space brings out different results. The breath of the discussion brought about by the diversity of the participants from the KS2 F2F was incredible.

RACHEL’s first experience with Open Space, especially on the Market Place technique gave her a freedom to choose a topic, a sense of ownership in a program without being driven by the facilitator, a sense of responsibility during the process and over the Open Space session that she was responsible for.


by N. White / ks workshop
by N. White / ks workshop

Gauri summarizes not only nicely the sessions but gives also an insight on how participants felt about the different group dynamics that have been used.

Everything seems to be ready for the three-day meeting of the FAO-CGIAR Knowledge Sharing Workshop that starts tomorrow. It will take place at Bioversity HQ in Rome just after the first 4-week on-line phase.

We expect 35 participants and our facilitators will be Nancy White (consultant), Pete Shelton (IFPRI), and Gauri Salokhe (FAO). Open Space is one of the meeting dynamics that we will be using.

Watch out Gauri’s blog for frequent updates, the photo gallery for pictures, and the KS Toolkit wiki for real time summaries on the workshop and open space sessions.