In the book Open Space Technology, Harrison Owen describes an organic way of structuringgroup conversations that harness the level of synergy and excitement found during the coffeebreak conversations at more traditional meetings.
As Owen explains, “OST is effective in situations where a diverse group of people must dealwith complex and potentially conflicting material in innovative and productive ways. It isparticularly powerful when nobody knows the answer and the ongoing participation of anumber of people is required to deal with the questions. Conversely, OST will not work, andtherefore should not be used, in any situation where the answer is already known, wheresomebody at a high level thinks the answer is already known, or where somebody is the sortthat must know the answer, and therefore must always be in charge, otherwise known ascontrol, control, control.”