Open Space, Facilitation and Event Design

We are pleased to have been asked to facilitate business meetings, conferences, and programme launches. We can do blank page to final session, or work with an existing structure to maximise the impact of a project.  If its important to you, then we would be delighted to help make it equally important to your staff / audience.

West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group

For their launch event at the new Apex conference centre we were asked to consider the best way to engage around 220 doctors, patients, medical administrators, councillors, local authority staff, and the press in preparing the Agenda for the shadow board of this new group charged with delivering the best possible health care provision through the 25 GP practices in the area.  “How do we deliver a Patient Revolution ?” was the provocation. We worked with the CEO and his team to design a morning agenda which included very short key note addresses and then Chris Grady led a three hour programme using Open Space Technology to get every person in the room working.  The conference discussion agenda included 40 items all raised by the delagates and all debated by the delagates.  The feedback for the CCG executive at the end of the morning was excellent – and they now have notes from 40 different topics to explore and develop into a working plan.

Other Open Space Technology Events

Other scenarios we have used include a session for the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds where everyone was invited to spend the day with us in a public meeting space to explore the new Mission and Vision for the theatre, and to raise any issues they felt passionate about which should be addressed by the management through to the future.  A mix of audience, staff, volunteers, local authority officers, trainees and voluntary workers, and board members met at an equal level, where ego cannot dominate, and explored issues from working with children to fire exits, the role of apprentices through to the repertoire of Georgian plays.   In another setting we turned a standard seminar on Arts Fundraising and Development at the Arts About Manchester conference into an Open Space session – again drawing on the collective expertise of those present, rather than the percieved wisdom of one key note speaker.  Everyone worked, everyone gained.

If you would like to learn more about an Open Space event please click/download here: OPEN SPACE intro

If you want a checklist to run an event with us (or to see the list I use) click/download here: CGO Open Space – checklist

Musical Theatre Matters – International Conference

Here we took the idea for a London one day conference on the future of Musical Theatre and worked from blank page to the final cocktail.  We collaborated across three new musical networks, 2 in London 1 in New York. We gathered speakers from Washington DC (National Endowment for the Arts), New York (Musical Theatre Festival), China, and Korea.  We worked to forge provocative topics which challenged the delegates to look at creativity and Musical Theatre in a different way by inviting an opening session from 21st century educational futurists.  We allowed time for breakout discussion and work.  We managed the process of delegate registration, securing a little sponsorship, press promotion and budget management.

Other Event Managagement projects

In previous years we have devised, written, financially managed and produced 3 annual showcases for the launch of the West End season for clients The Society of London Theatre, 2 at the Theatre Royal Druty Lane and one at the Lyric Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue.  We have devised and produced 3 competitions for new writing for the Vivian Ellis Prize through to producing a gala showcases at the London Palladium (2) and Theatre Royal Drury Lane (1).  [In all 6 events we worked on the production management and design with Chris deWilde, freelance designer, and Benita Wakefield, freelance production manager]

Our ways of working…

We can do it all if we have to;  We draw on the maximum expertise in the organisation that is available;  challenge the beliefs that an event has to be done a particular way or in a particular place (because that’s how its always happened); work with you to prepare budgets and raise the necessary finance; and then draw into a project team the very best people to deliver the very best result – ideally people who are better than us at their chosen discipline so we can all look good at the end and cheer a great event;  and finally we aim to ensure that those who need rightful praise are at the front.  We are there to facilitate, do what’s needed, and then get out of the way.

Creativity is not expensive – if the right discussions happen at an early stage.

The in-house team have immense experience to draw upon – given the right motivation and involvement.

Experts are not expensive – if they are doing what they do best, and not spending too long in meetings.

26 lasers writing the name of the chairman in the sky don’t come cheap – but is that essential this year to reach the audience ?

Let us know how CGO can help – email chris [at] chrisgrady [dot] org