Bumblebees and Butterflies

The theme of this conference is very important and it makes me super enthusiastic! In my career as a training and talent development professional, I was used to asking others and myself the question: What do we need to perform and excel in the future? As professional trainer, it is evident to me to keep myself years ahead of the curve. But, it is getting more complex…

Nowadays, the world is changing with a speed that goes beyond comprehension! Disruptive forces like smart technology, new media and connectivity are surprising established market leaders in all kinds of industries. Start-ups are taking down huge market players and/or taking big bites out of businesses.

Just talking with a few peers is not effective anymore to get an answer on the question: What do we need to perform well in the future? A top-end conference —like Competencies for 2030 — with many top-notch experts, researchers and professors from all kinds of areas of expertise, gives us a unique opportunity to find the answers and prepare us for future ultimate challenges.

Blending traditional educational sessions, workshops and presentations of research papers with the Open Space Method, is setting this event apart from the rest and ignites a one-of-a-kind “think-thank” with a positive chemistry.

What is Open Space?
It is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity, which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning; bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole.

The Education Conference Planning Committee has chosen on top of prominent speakers to invite all with ‘Open Space Technology’, to find the answer to one question:

We need to get the answer of this question:
“What competencies should our experts in Higher Education need in 2030 to cope with the upcoming challenges?”

Why did the committee choose Open Space? Because:

  1. At the conference there will be a high degree of diversity.
  2. All kinds of areas of expertise will be represented at the conference.
  3. We need the core of HE’s input to make a clear roadmap to a clear vision.
  4. The situation of Higher Education is complex
  5. There is an urgency to get the best possible answers to this question as soon as possible.

These are the reasons why the Open Space is a wonderful technique.

I am expecting that it will be a place where:

  • New energy will flow
  • Shared ideas, insights and leadership will be visible
  • Commitment and collaboration will start

What exactly will the outcomes be? I don’t know! What I do know, however, is: if you did not get what you wanted out of this technique, you can only blame yourself for not putting enough effort.

What I like is that the committee did not provide an invisible “glass ceiling” preventing the Open Space to deliver groundbreaking results. It is the opposite: it challenges us to go beyond our limitations.

Special moderators and reporters will facilitate and report proceedings. Results will be with all attendees at the end of the conference.

What to keep in mind when you enter the Open Space?

The “Law of Two Feet” means that you take responsibility for what you care about — standing up for that and using your own two feet to move to whatever place you can best contribute and/or learn.

Four principles apply in regards to how you navigate in an Open Space:


  1. Whoever comes is the right people

Whoever is attracted to the same conversation are the people who can contribute most to that conversation—because they care. So, they are exactly the ones—for the whole group—who are capable of initiating action.

  1. Whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve

We are all limited by our own pasts and expectations. This principle acknowledges that we’ll all do our best to focus on NOW– the present time and place—and not get bogged down in what could’ve or should’ve happened.

  1. When it starts, it’s the right time

The creative spirit has its own time, and our task is to make our best contribution and enter the flow of creativity when it starts.

  1. When it’s over, it’s over

Creativity has its own rhythm. So do groups, just a reminder to pay attention to the flow of creativity—not the clock.  When you think it is over, ask: Is it over?  And if it is, go on to the next thing you have a passion for.  If it’s not, make plans for continuing the conversation.

 How Open Space works when there is conflict?

The “Law of Two Feet” gives participants freedom to move at any time to a discussion they care about. Caring creates common ground, and helps to remind participants of a higher purpose.

Remember Open Space is all about taking individual responsibility, which also means that you do not have to offer anything at this time if you so choose. You may simply wish to participate in the sessions offered by others.

We have different temperaments and personality types in the room and so some people will prefer to stay in one session from beginning to end, while others will tend to move from group to group. Both types are important and contribute to the process.

We refer to the latter type of person as a “butterfly” or a “bumblebee” as their style is like moving from flower to flower. They bring insights and ideas from other groups and provide cross-pollination, while those who remain in the sessions for the duration provide the continuity and stability that allows conversations to build and reach fruition. So it is necessary to just be yourself!

One more thing before we begin, those of you who are going to make an “offering” by convening a session have some responsibilities. You are asked to show up at the time and place that you announced and posted. Your job is to convene the group. You are not there to lecture people! You are also asked to be responsible for seeing that the results of your conversation or activity are recorded. There are laptop computers available over there for that purpose. By the way, you may also enter your individual comments and conclusions electronically or use the News wall to publish any thoughts.

By recording the sessions as we go along we are building a living document that will be available to all participants either by the end of the (last) day or very shortly thereafter.

May I encourage you to seed abundantly in the Open Space at the Conference? “Universal law” teaches that we may expect a very rich harvest…

Please start to post your input on this website. I am looking forward to meet you personally during the Open Space session!

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11 Comments, RSS

  • Mahmoud

    January 3, 2016 @ 9:00 am Reply

    This is indeed a special approach of finding a direction together. I like the shared leadership approach, it inspired me! Social Intelligent Robotics in Higher Education is a good topic I like to agenda during the conference and to discuss it with others during the open space. Robotics could open much new opportunities in Egypt.

    • April 26, 2017 @ 11:00 pm Reply

      The truth just shines throguh your post

  • January 4, 2016 @ 6:02 am Reply

    I am worried about the future of our youth after the robot tsunami that is coming. Will it be followed by kind of jobless recovery of the economy? What can we in do to give them a hope and a meaningful outlook to the future? Here in Saudi Arabia the future of the youngsters is a hot topic.

    • Charla

      April 26, 2017 @ 11:10 pm Reply

      It’s a joy to find sonmoee who can think like that

  • Amani

    January 14, 2016 @ 6:42 am Reply

    I am considering to register for this conference and enrich my know-how to support the completion of my master thesis (HRM) concerning ‘competency management in governmental organizations’. Are students allowed to agenda a topic in the open space meetings? Does the conference offer special discounts for students?

    • Admin

      January 20, 2016 @ 7:01 am Reply

      Hello Amani, Thank you for visiting our blog. Everyone is welcome at the OpenSpace meetings and agenda topics. We have special students discount packages at the registration page. We are looking forward to welcome you!

    • Tessica

      April 26, 2017 @ 10:20 pm Reply

      I never thought I would find such an everyday topic so enhlarlting!

  • March 17, 2016 @ 11:54 pm Reply

    Consiste en utilizar una dos fuente de luz que se acomodan detrás
    de la cámara en ángulos opuestos para cubrir toda la superficie del sujeto.

  • tratamiento

    July 24, 2016 @ 9:10 pm Reply

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  • Fidel Mckinney

    November 8, 2016 @ 10:40 pm Reply

    Tremendous issues here. I’m very happy to look your post. Thank you a lot and I am taking a look ahead to contact you.

  • Forever

    April 26, 2017 @ 11:14 pm Reply

    This is just the perfect answer for all forum members

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