Open Space is the central method during our Value Investing Conference ValueWeekend. The Open Space method enables us to work independently, flexibly and guided by our interests. In this open space summary, we want to introduce you to the method.

Open Space and Value Investing

Open Space Method: A short introduction

  • At the beginning of the event, we, the participants, decide ourselves what to work on.
  • Under the Value Investing theme, we develop our agenda and the course of action ourselves. There is no predetermined agenda developed by others.
  • We moderate, lead, decide, prioritise and fill in the content.
  • We only work on what is really the topic.
  • Our work is carried out in working groups whose size, composition, working method and duration are determined by us.
  • Our work results and appointments from the issue groups are continuously recorded. The results of our work produce a documentation for all the participants.
  • In order to participate and profit effectively, your presence is required throughout the entire period. You can expect surprises and fun at work.

Videos on the Open Space Method

English YouTube playlist
German YouTube playlist

 

FAQ about the Open Space method

Why do we use the Open Space method?

In exchange with other value investors, we have repeatedly learned how little we know and how good it is to learn from others and to reflect on ourselves in exchange. At many conferences, we have heard great presentations. But the exchange among each other came mostly a little too briefly. Open Space, on the other hand, provides many space and incentives for exchange. Open Space is the “organized break conversation”. Everyone can contribute their knowledge and skills in this format where it is most effective. As a value investing community, this is particularly important to us. Open Space offers a good framework to bring in your interest and requests.

What is the framework in Open Space?

Open Space Method & Value InvestingOpen Space has these four rules, a law and a warning.

The rules are:

  1. Whoever comes is the right people.
  2. Whatever happens, happens.
  3. Whenever it starts, it’s the right time.
  4. When it’s over, it’s over.

The law is the law of mobility (or law of two 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, go someplace else”. If we follow the law, it creates two figures in the open space setting: the bee and the butterfly.

  • Bees “buzz” around between the issue groups. They are a helpful source of information between the groups.
  • Butterflies stand for rest and lingering. They are a centre of inactivity. They can often be found where nothing is planned (e.g. at the buffet). The inactivity can often lead to new and unexpected things.

The admonition is: „Be prepared to be surprised!“

What phases does the Open Space method have?

There are three phases:

  1. Introduction to the Open Space Method
  2. Creation of an issue wall followed by the market place
  3. The work in the issue groups in the respective issue phases

How is the agenda for the day created?

The main topic – in our case Value Investing – and a proposed timeframe offer a rough orientation for the agenda of the day. The other elements of the agenda are determined by us, the participants. There are two steps to this:

  • In a first step, our requests to the Value Investing topic are collected. You have the possibility to present your request shortly in front of the group. In this phase, a first definition of time and place of the issue groups also takes place. Thereby a draft for the common agenda is drawn up.
  • In the next step, we all meet on the “marketplace”. There all can express their interest in the requests by registering by our name. In addition, it is possible to negotiate between the contributors of the issues, for example about times, places and thematic cuts.

At the end of the process there is an agenda for the day. As the ValueWeekend is a two-day event, this process takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Even after this process has been completed, further issues can still be raised.

How can you bring in your issue?

Your issue has its place in the issue phase of Open Space. The ValueWeekend is planned that you should hand in your request on site. That is what the creation of the wall of issues and the marketplace is for. Thus, the detailed overview of the individual workshops will be created together in the group.

It is quite helpful if you have already worked out something in advance. But it is also okay if you come to the ValueWeekend without any elaborated idea and/or your idea only arises on the spot. Spontaneous and previously prepared ideas are equally welcome in this open format.

What happens in the issue phases?

The groups start working based on the rules, the admonition and the law of mobility. You go to the issue group, you like to join. There you work independently with the other participants on the requests. The only and most important requirement is to save the results in a protocol.

Open Space Method & Value InvestingHow are the results saved?

Each group has the important duty to create a short and crisp protocol of the results. It is intended to capture the requests, the participants, the place and the most important points of the debate.

It is very important that these protocols are done by all groups. At the ValueWeekend we want to write the protocols directly digitally in our internal area (in OneNote). So, you can easily read what has been discussed. If you are interested in the other debates, you are invited to ask other participants about their discussion. You are also welcome to add to the protocols after the ValueWeekend. If you’re more productive by using pen and paper, we also provide you with protocol templates on paper. You or we will make them digitally available to everyone later in the internal area (in OneNote).

What happens if there is a request group and I am alone there?

There are three possibilities:

  1. Wait.
  2. Take the space for yourself and structure the topic for yourself. That can be very helpful.
  3. Use the law of mobility and look for another place to be productive.

 

Links on the Open Space method

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