Agile Midwest 2017 - Open Space - October 11, 2017

Building connections & sharing advice, insights and lessons learned to improve our understanding of agility

The 2017 Agile Midwest Conference will be preceded by a 1-day Open Space focusing on the theme of:

“Building connections & sharing advice, insights and lessons learned to improve our understanding of agility”

All Agile Midwest conference attendees are invited to attend this “Open Space” event that will be held on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 – Open Space admission is included with all conference tickets, and food, beverages and snacks will be provided throughout the day to Open Space attendees.

The opening circle will begin at 9 AM and the event is expected to run until ~4:30 PM.

The Open Space will be held at the St. Charles Convention Center – the same location as the Agile Midwest conference will be held the following day, October 12, 2017.

What is Open Space?

Open Space technology was created Harrison Owen in an attempt to find improved methods to bring people together to collaborate, learn and solve problems.  Rather than creating an agenda & topics in advance, participants are invited to voice what they would like to share or learn related to the theme at the start of the open space to which the group self organizes to identify the topics of the greatest interest. Working together, participants create a marketplace that advertises which topics and activities will be presented throughout the open space event.

In recent years, multiple Open Space events have been held in the St. Louis area organized in this manner including Agile Coach Camp 2016 during which agile coaches from across the country came to St. Louis to share insights to improve agile coaching – photos below from St. Louis open space events.

Gathering to identify topics via an “Opening Circle” . . .


A self-organized marketplace advertising topics / activities by time & location . . . 


If you have never attended an Open Space before, many new attendees wonder “Where’s the agenda” or what we will spend our time discussing – a key principle of open space is “be prepared to be surprised” – without setting the agenda in advance, the space will enable the group to collaborate to focus on the topics of greatest impact / value to those present.  Allowing attendees to set the focus of the event ensures that they depart with insightful and relevant lessons learned.

Regardless of if you have ideas to share, or are simply interested in attending and listening to others that are sharing, Open Space provides a mechanism for all to be involved and learn.


How Open Space works:

All participants gather in the Opening Circle at the designated start time.

Members of the group are then invited to share ideas for discussions, activities and/or presentations during the opening circle.

As ideas are shared, they are assigned to a space and time when those interested can gather to discuss / participate – a simple grid (called the Marketplace) is posted and used to help participants keep track of the location and timing of each topic.

If you submit a topic, idea or question for a space, you become a “convener” – a convener need not be an expert, but rather is someone who is willing to gather those interested in the topic, idea or question and begin the discussion – once the discussion begins, those interested (not necessarily the convener) can determine where it goes, and when the discussion / topic ends.

Participants then attend the sessions / activities that interest them most, having the freedom to shift of session to session (and/or find a space and throw a new idea on the grid at any time).

At the end of the event, all return to the Closing Circle to share key learnings, takeaways, and appreciations from the Open Space experience.   


Agile Midwest 2017 – Open Space Facilitation

The Agile Midwest 2017 Open Space will be facilitated by Jason Tice.  Jason has participated in and facilitated international open space events focusing on agile coaching & transformation, serious games for learning & innovation, and strategies to redesign & improve complex organizations.  Jason has served as a past presenter and organizer for multiple Agile Alliance events and hosted the 2016 Agile Coach Camp held in St. Louis.  He has held open space events around the St. Louis metro area at the T-REX, Cortex, Washington University and the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  Jason leads a team of international consultants as part of the World Wide Technology Business Innovation practice that use components of open space and ideation to design and facilitate collaborative strategy sessions to enable the people of Fortune 100 organizations around the world to work together to learn and improve their businesses.