Open Space Technology (OST) is an approach to designing meetings and conferences that has expanded to the design of organizations. Harrison Owen developed OST by observing that the best and most productive energy emerges when people are able to engage with their passion and responsibility. In this way OST meetings are self-organizing and the agenda is developed by the meeting's participants. There are well developed formats for setting up and running OST meetings which are available online and in books. However, a skilled OST facilitator can help meeting organizers determine if OST is appropriate for their purposes, and if so, how to best set up the meeting or conference.
Warning: Once you have experienced a good Open Space meeting it may be hard to go back to conventional meeting formats! We have found that anytime you want to elicit and build upon the energy, expertise, and experience of the people in attendance, OST is the most efficient and honoring way to do this. You can read more in our essay Welcome to Open Space.