New Research and Journal

An evidence-based practical guide to effective use of Large Scale Interventions. Towards sustainable organisational change with the whole system. Author Tonnie van der Zouwen. Read more


The Journal “Challenging Organisations and Society . reflective hybrids® (COS)” is the first journal to be dedicated to the rapidly growing requirements of reflective hybrids in our complex organizations and society of the 21st century. Its international and multidisciplinary approaches balance theory and practice and show a wide range of perspectives organized in and between organizations and society. Being global, diverse in thinking and acting outside the box are the targets for its authors and readers in management, consulting and science. Read more

Open Space in Healthcare is “…working to change the ‘old order of things’, the one which rewards the privileged few who have the time and money to attend conferences, pay for journal articles and subscription knowledge by making all healthcare knowledge accessible and available to all healthcare professionals, anytime, anywhere, FREE of charge.”

They recently posted an article on Open Space in Healthcare by Larry Peterson, a long-time leader in Canada’s community of OST practitioners. The case he makes is based on Canadian stories, but the lessons and language would be relevant for ongoing transformation in any healthcare system.

Open Space Research?

Dennis Embry sent this question from PAXIS Institute in Tuscon, Arizona…

I am looking for peer-reviewed, published studies on Open Space procedures. I am looking for either randomized control group studies or high-quality interrupted time series studies showing actual impact on outcomes of organizations or communities. What I have found so far are discussions of processes and proximal outcomes. I see for example Open Space is often used for community problems, and I am curious if there is evidence that it actually leads to reductions of those problems or increase in related positive outcomes.

The only research I know of is posted in the ResearchActivities page of our ResourcesCollection… but maybe we can shake out some other responses for Dennis? Please comment here for Dennis and others interested in this sort of research. We’ll be glad to add any new materials to our Research page, as well.

Open and closed language

At Anecdote,Andrew Rixon has teamed up with OSonOS X co-host Viv McWaters in an innovative community of practice exercise. They are running a three month long reflective learning group on the uses of open and closed language among facilitators:

Our focus is on the language facilitators use to encourage or discourage a group discussion. This reflective practice will run over 3 months and for those participating we will provide reminders, feedback and stories from other participants. We aim to share our learnings and findings at a workshop for some upcoming Australasian facilitation conference… If you would like to join in on this reflective practice, send either Viv ( or myself ( an email and we will join you in to our program.

Grounded Theory Study

Graduate research that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Open Space: A Grounded Theory Study On The Value Associated With Using Open Space Technology by Rich Norris

This gem on the first page, even before the introduction: “The prime value noted is OST’s ability to help people move below the surface of their personal or organizational facade by uncovering what is already in existence but unseen.”

An Approach to Community-University Partnerships

An Approach to Community-University Partnerships: Discoveries on the Road to America’s Promise by Nancie Biver

This paper is a journey that explores the complexity and optimism of community/higher education partnerships to support youth. It provides an analysis of the dynamics and history of power and racism. It raises critical questions regarding the role and approach of higher education and America’s Promise, the national alliance for youth. Ultimately, it offers an opportunity to view our communities differently and engage in a process that provides the potential for authentic democratic solution generating, inclusive of the grassroots voice.

The paper includes a discussion of Open Space Technology and it’s application in the above contexts.

edit to fix link, unfortunately, it’s only a library entry, not the full paper

Between Mystery and Mastery

Between Mystery and Mastery , thesis by Theo Groot, Kampala, Uganda, May 2003

In September 2001 I had the privilege to take a one-year sabbatical to embark on a course in organization development and consultancy at Sheffield Hallam University in the U.K. One of the characteristics of the above mentioned OD course is the harmonious integration of academics, practical skills and personal development. This dissertation is a reflection of my learning journey.

As development workers we are by the very nature of our work focussed on bringing about deliberate change in communities and organisations. During my course I became increasingly interested in complexity theory and its implications for development work and I consider Open Space Technology to be a practical way of dealing with change from a complexity perspective. Further more Open Space is very close to Central and Eastern Bantu approaches to change as I explain in this research thesis.

I can be contacted on: