Open Space Conveners

Open Space Convenors



Conveners are Open Space Participants who initiate small-group sessions and/or informal discussions. They are Emergent (Informal) Leaders.




Each participant is free to become a Convener and take responsibility for:

  • Proposing a topic and adding it to the Marketplace
  • Negotiating with other conveners as necessary to determine where and when the discussion will take place
  • Convening the discussion, welcoming the participants, and inviting them to contribute to the discussion
  • Ensuring that the results of the discussion are captured and recorded so they can become part of the proceedings

Convening a discussion means proposing and explaining the topic and then keeping the session open for free and open dialogue among the participants. It does not mean assembling an audience to hear what the convener has to say about the topic.

Each discussion is framed by the Five Principles and the One Law.

The Five Principles (in no particular order…)

  • Whoever comes is the right people
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it’s over, it’s over
  • Wherever it happens is the right place

The One Law: Law of 2 Feet

  • If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet and go someplace else.

Additional guidelines for conveners to keep in mind:

  • It’s OK to discuss the same (or similar) topic in more than one session
  • If no participants choose to attend your session, you may decide to participate in another session or use the time for personal reflection about the topic – your solutions may end up becoming top priorities
  • It’s OK if participants leave or join during the session – they’re just following the Law of Two Feet

Written by: Mark Sheffield, OSA-Certified Trainer