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​"When leaders of three large community based organisations invited Michael Wood to conduct an Open Space to help work out how we could all work better to reduce the fracturing of families, we knew that we wanted to do something more creative than running a forum. What we wanted was someone to help us develop a dynamic space in which concerned people could move past their distress and would feel invigorated and safe enough to share their dreams about change. Indeed we called it a dreaming exercise. It was an outstanding success. Unanimous approval from seventy participants who chose to be there is a rare event. And the energy continues as we now develop the strategies.

-Maria Harries, Mercy Care-

Creative Collaboration


As the world becomes more complex, we can find ourselves trying to figure out 'the answer'. This can be an enormously tiring expectation which we place on ourselves (or sense others are placing on us). The challenge with complex, or what are sometimes called 'wicked', problems is that they often involve multiple players with competing needs and priorities. Creating on apparent 'solution' can set up unexpected ripple effects in other parts of the system. At other times, things are changing so quickly that it's simply impossible to plan too far ahead. Rather, we need to be highly responsive to the present moment (the jargon for this is 'adaptive' or 'agile').

One effective and enjoyable, approach to engaging with complexity, and enabling the shared leadership which complexity demands, is to apply Open Space Technology principles. This begins by re-framing the question from 'what do I do here', to 'what can we do together?' This moves the dynamic from consultation (I listen to you and then I do to/for you) to collaboration (we listen to each other and work with each other to figure it out together).

We can work with you to reflect on how 'Open Space Technology' principles and practices might support you in working through complex transition and change, and, in doing so, grow lasting collaborative relationships. We can:

  •  facilitate Open Space meetings from small through to large groups (300+ 

       people). This can be done in physical meeting space or using online

        meeting technology.

  • teach, coach and mentor you or your staff how to facilitate Open Space Technology in your community or organisation as a 'paradigm' of collaborative leadership and community engagement.