Is the cofee break better than the conference? Open Space Teal and Yellow

Is the cofee break better than the conference? Open Space Teal and Yellow

Harrison Owen discovered in the 1980-ies, that people who are attending his conferences enjoy more the coffee breaks between the formal presentations and plenary sessions than the actual programs. During the breaks they can move freely wherever they want and have deeper and more effective conversations about topics that really matters to them. After he realised this, Harrison combined this insight with his experience of life in an African village, and created a totally new form of conferencing. This is the Open Space technology, which can be also a little bit chaotic at first sight, but on the ground it proves to be extremely powerful, productive and fun! 

We had the same experience in the Intergal Europan Conferences in Europe, and also on the Integral Theory conferences in America: often the best times are the lobby times and coffe breaks, when we can’t stop enjoying the spontanious meeting of super exciting people, and engaging into conversations, that are born there. Because those conversations are often the most real ones.

So why not creating an integral event when we reverse the game and make 70% of the conference just like that: an Open Space process! That’s how the format of the IEC Regathering has been created.

We give 30% of fixed frame with selected goodies such as keynoters, big circle practices, and sharing who we are. Also adding some thrilling news and announcements! Then the Open Space period starts. Open Spaces begin without any predetermined agenda or pre-set speakers, as the sessions are born in the “here and now” and sessions are created by the participants, among whom most are accomplished experts of their respective areas. Participants, in other words experts are often full of knowledges, have meaningful question, skilled processes to offer, and readiness for hot discussions. So they are asked: If you want to offer something, come up now! They come up and announce what, when and where they are inviting others to do within the frames of that venue and time frame (a few hours!). It’s all “people decide”, not the organizers. 

There are two key ingredients to reach the deep creative learning experience here: freedom and responsibility. Freedom allows you to explore whatever your needs and interests are and you can try out more things to find out, what really fits you there, and what is real for you. While responsibility insures that both exploration and experimentation will be pursued without condemning any program elements: you decide, you can stay or leave for another session.


There are four guidelines and one law for the Open Space:

1. Whoever comes are the right people. Not only are experts cool – anyone who is honestly drawn to a subject is a worthwhile participant in the discussion.

2. Whenever it starts is the right time. Intuitively manage the start of your section in the gathering and when the conversation begins let the ideas flow. Don’t force yourself or feel pressure to be someone you aren’t. Just give yourself, be open and flexible.

3. When it’s over, it’s over. Flexible time management of the sessions maximizes what emerges from the process.

4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. Leave out your expectations and be prepared to be surprised! No one knows what kind of brilliant ideas or solutions will be found in each and every group.

The Law of Two Feet

If you are neither learning nor contributing, move to some place more to your liking. If during the session you are attending you find yourself in a situation where you are not getting what you were looking for, you must use your feet and go to some more productive place. No one’s feelings will be hurt and no time will be wasted.

What is needed from you, is to be there, reflect honestly, share openly, think critically and most importantly: trust the process! You will experience a truly inspiring and productive flow.

On the Regathering before and after the Open Space periods we will gather at the Big Circle where we all unite in a United States of Attentia. United Space together alternates with Open Space in break outs, that is born from the Big Circle. There you will have the freedom spontaneity to create an agenda together with the other participants and build up the whole concept. By naming your topic you will give an invitation for the people to join you: that’s how step in as presenter. You’ll get as audience those who truly resonate with you right there and then! Trust them, they have the passion to be there and for some reason they want to be in your room!

If you don’t want to offer a session, then you see who is offering what and decide with whom you resonate most and follow that person. Whether you will hold a session or you will be a participant, let go of your expectations! Enjoy the beauty of the “here and now”, mutual resonance, purpose and effectiveness, and go with the inspirational flow! You will definitely experience peak moments, where you are at the right place, meeting the right people and receiving the right exchange and inspirations.


You can be also a Butterfly, who is there, but doing or saying nothing or may not even going to any session! If standing on the garden with closed eyes and absorbing the sun and nature with two friends or even alone is your call: then it is as valid as going to a session. You are giving your presence and energy to the gathering and thus we created together the Field.

Or you can be a Bumblebee,  who buzzes across rooms, and is everywhere, jumping into a lot of sessions and gets inspired. This energy gives a lot to the gathering.


We can’t wait to see you at the IEC Regathering in Vienna and be in this fun together!


Check out this video which help you to understand more deeply the Open Space experience:




Otto Scharmer joins the IEC world with Theory U: it’s latest developments and the friendship with integral, which introduces the concept of “presencing” – learning from the emerging future.


Showcasing a brand new spiritual documentary movie of 12 shamans from around the globe sharing their wisdom and going to the United Nations New York Headquarters to meet and do a ceremony. 


Heart-Based Medicine: towards integral doctoring. With Jan Bonhoeffer, founder of Heart-Based Medicine, an international resource for healthcare professionals and patients, committed to creating a global field of heart-based healing.


The Open Space is calling you to present! 30 other rooms open co-creatively for you and other integral people from the globe facilitated by the Open Space process to bring your best contributions.


Founder of Integral Investments, Dr. Mariana Boesan will lead a session that addresses the tension between progress and disruption. She will also discuss the role, what an integrally informed community can take to ensure a smooth transition to the next level of evolution!


Report on the International Constellation: what happened at the IEC 2018 Constellation, with Diana Claire-Douglas from Canada. Presenting the results of a 5 month after work 

With Love, The IEC team

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