CoCreate Adelaide is built on an event methodology called Open Space Technologies. We are not trying to make a quality event for passive attendees. We are providing conditions for participants to actively create something meaningful for themselves.
The majority of an Open Space event is a series of open sessions that participants host themselves – these are not soap-box sessions, but an opportunity for people to share a vision they are passionate about, and spark a discussion about what we can do to make it happen. The topics are not chosen before the event, but instead people put their hand up on the day.
Open Space often revolves around a single, collective challenge, for example “what is our sector for?” For CoCreate, however, we typically have two questions. The first, the invitation: what is your vision? The second, the response: what can we do to make it happen?
Unlike a traditional conference, workshop or consultation session, we can’t tell you exactly what is going to happen in advance. We don’t want to! We want to see how the collective wisdom can trump our own and surprise us. For those of us that appreciate the creative capacity of the unpredictable, that’s exactly how it should be!
Rather than ask you simply to invest your faith in us, we can tell you why we are using Open Space Technologies, why it works, and why we believe it will create the most meaningful event.
Open Space Technologies fits with out philosophy of community and grassroots action. We don’t have answers, and we don’t control the outcome. We don’t want to tell people what to think or what to do, we don’t want to do things for people, we want to support them to do the things they care about themselves.
Open Space events take advantage of a number of well-tested elements that make conversations surprisingly engaging and lively, despite not being pre-planned:
- Everyone comes because they want to be there, on a genuine, human level. Everyone, including the organisers, has bought their own ticket. Nobody is forced to come. There are no hangers-on!
- There are three parallel sessions at all times, and everyone is free to move fluidly between them. Participants don’t attend a session if they don’t want to, and they don’t stay if they don’t find it valuable. Everybody is present because they want to be there.
- Participants only put their hand up to host sessions on the things they really care about. Nobody is paid to fill a brief. All sessions are meaningful.
The result is a self-organising event, where people find, create and contribute to the conversations most meaningful to them.
It sound so simple and improbable, but if you’ve experienced participatory events before you’ll know that magic happens more often than not. Come and join in. : )