Bricking It


Yesterday I facilitated an Open Space for the Bricking It conference held at Channel 4 in London. With my friends at Policy Unplugged, I’ve developed a stripped down version of the Open Space format to work in 3 hours.

Feedback has been very good and I really enjoyed myself.

One fun thing we did was asked all participants to fill in a form saying what, as a child, they wanted to be when they grew up, and what careers advice they’d give a youngster today. We papered a wall with all the answers…


and it gave a perspective on the fabulous variety of minds present in the room. I looked at this and thought, why would you take all this brainpower and constrain it in a conventional top-down format? Yay for Open Space.

Here are David Wilcox’s pictures of the event.


6 thoughts on “Bricking It

  1. Viv McWaters

    I’d be really interested to hear what your stripped down versin of OS looks like – what’s in – what’s out from a trad OS event?



  2. Johnnie Moore

    Hi Viv: I don’t cover the four principles, but I do talk about butterflies, bummblees and the law of two feet. I skip the “sign up” stage of the marketplace, I find we do fine without it. The closing is usually very short – this time I just did a round of one-word feedback. The core idea of participants setting the agenda and moving to where they want remains central.

  3. Ian Glendinning

    Hi Johnnie,

    In my day job, I’m operating in a fairly traditional, conservative, big-engineering software house, where brainstorming with a few prioritization techniques is about as sophisticated as group problem solving gets.

    I’ve been proposing the OS idea gently for a while, using the “change is as good as a rest” argument so far. I was going to ask your advice on a good source link for a higher exec level manager who might ask “So how does OS work then ?”

    Given the starting point I’d be nervous at running a first such session without some skilled facilitation support. Know anyone who could help in the Alabama area ?

  4. Viv McWaters

    Thanks Johnnie – that’s pretty much what I do also when I pare it down to its basics: circle, Law of Two feet, agenda and get to work!



  5. Designing for Civil Society

    What does it take for online collaboration to work with events?

    I’m doing some work with Steve Moore and colleagues at Policy Unplugged, where we are mixing social conferencing events with before and after online activity on a multi-user blog space … so I’m on the look-out for other examples of

  6. Johnnie Moore

    Ian: Thanks for your questions. Here is a good intro to Open Space which I have found has helped clients in the past.. it’s fairly short and sweet.

    One starting point is to invite your key manager along to an Open Space being run elsewhere; or to introduce an Open Space in a smaller way for a less charged event, maybe something you create yourself.

    To find a facilitator in your own area, I suggest joining this OpenSpace listserve and asking there. If that doesn’t work, get back to me and I will try to get someone to help you!


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