Open Spaces

Open Space sessions create an opportunity for conference attendees to share ideas, solve problems, and participate in discussions in different ways than we can on the main stage of the conference.

If you've never attended an Open Space, expect to interact closely with others from the community. Anyone can suggest and lead a session on a topic -- sessions can be organized around a presentation, a group discussion on a particular problem, or anything in between.

Leading a session

There is no stage in an Open Space, and sessions instead focus on small group interaction.

Whether you have a topic in mind, or a problem you would like to pose to the rest of the community, there is no wrong way to lead an Open Space session. Good sessions emphasize group participation, however, so if you choose a format that includes a lot of your own ideas or material, be prepared to dial it back and use what you have as a starting point, not as the focal point.

Here are a few ideas for how to structure a session, borrowed from Scott Berkun's post on Open Space sessions:

  • Group discussion - Pick a topic and facilitate a group discussion
  • The semi-talk - Use a short presentation to lead into a group discussion on a topic
  • Show and tell - Show off your latest project, a new tool, or anything else you are excited about

Scheduling a session

If you want to lead a session, sign up on the board in the room designated for the Open Space. You propose a topic and pick a time; sessions are scheduled for the same time slots as talks on the main stage

The first chance you will get to post your presentation is during the welcome reception. If you don't make it to the reception, be sure to find the board when you first arrive at the conference to post your topic.

We will start promoting the Open Space sessions early in the day on the days of the conference, so post your topic early if you want a particular time slot, or to make sure that there's room.

See the Schedule for information on the exact date and time.