Apply Open Space Technology methods to AI and digital-first environments

As workplaces continue to evolve with increasing emphasis on remote and hybrid models, facilitation techniques must adapt accordingly. Open Space Technology (OST), traditionally an in-person facilitation method, is also finding its footing in the digital world. This guide explores how OST can be effectively implemented using video conferencing platforms, digital whiteboards, and AI tools, ensuring that the spontaneous and participant-driven nature of OST thrives in virtual environments.

Adapting OST Principles for Virtual Environments

The core principles and the Law of Two Feet that guide OST need thoughtful adaptation for online implementation. Whether it’s fully remote or a hybrid session, make sure that all participants know they are welcome to participate and encourage their engagement, regardless of their physical location. Remind participants to embrace the unexpected, even in a digital setting! Lastly, make sure to respect time zones and online fatigue, promoting flexibility in session timing and duration.

Technology Tools for Virtual OST

Effective virtual OST sessions leverage several technological tools:

  • Video Conferencing Platforms: Platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are essential for creating a virtual space that mimics the open, circle arrangement of traditional OST. Features like breakout rooms can simulate separate discussion spaces. Many platforms have a feature that allow participants to CHOOSE the breakout room they’d like to enter which is key for OST events.
  • Digital Whiteboards: Tools such as Miro or Mural facilitate real-time collaboration, allowing participants to post their discussion topics on a shared board and move freely between different breakout rooms or topic areas.
  • AI Tools: Tools like ChatGPT can assist by generating ideas, summarizing discussions, and providing logistical support during sessions. AI-driven analytics also can offer real-time insights into the effectiveness of discussions and participant engagement. Many whiteboards have features that allow you to utilize AI right in the whiteboard space to not just add questions or ideas, but summarize or theme them. See Miro AI for an example.

Setting Up for Virtual OST

Preparing for a virtual OST involves both technical setup and creating an inviting online environment:

  • Ensure all participants have access to necessary technology and understand how to use the platforms.
  • Guide participants to set up their physical space to minimize distractions and encourage participation.

Challenges and Solutions in Virtual OST

Some common virtual facilitation challenges include:

  • Engagement: In order to keep participants engaged throughout the session, use interactive tools and frequent breaks to keep energy high.
  • Technical Issues: If participants run into technical issues, have a backup plan and provide clear instructions for technology use.
  • Participant Fatigue: To prevent digital fatique, keep sessions shorter than traditional OST, respecting the intense nature of online interaction.


By integrating AI tools and digital collaboration into Open Space Technology, facilitators can ensure its relevance and effectiveness in hybrid and remote environments. In a digital era, OST remains an indispensable tool for organizations navigating the complexities of modern collaboration. As we continue to embrace innovation and harness the potential of digital ecosystems, the journey towards more dynamic and inclusive meetings is a tangible reality for many.