Emergent (Informal) LeadersInformal Leaders are the life and blood of OpenSpace Agility. Informal leaders help bring the best ideas directly from the contexts in which these leaders work. By cultivating a space where these informal leaders can emerge, these leaders help bring the organization toward energy, action, and “escape velocity.”

Since these leaders can not be assigned by formal leadership (or they would also become formally authorized leaders), it can be challenging to help people take on this critical role. Speeches and policies that all employees are “empowered” often fail to nudge old habits of waiting for permission.

Open Space Technology and OpenSpace Agility use Game Mechanics that make it safe for individuals to experiment with taking up this role. By cultivating fertile soil during the first and second Open Space meetings, everyone in the organization gets to experiment both with being and following emergent leaders in the specific contexts they care about. This breaks the bottleneck of every initiative needing to pass through the formal leadership, and dramatically increases engagement and thus high performance.


Written by: Harold Shinsato, OSA Certified Trainer