Open Space Meetings are patient/public partner-directed meetings. At the beginning of the meeting, an open space convener helps facilitate and support patient/public partners to decide upon an agenda, identify different people to lead sessions on desired research decisions to be made (e.g. "research priorities to be addressed", "defining the parameters of the research question", "Important outcome measures to be included in the research project," "ways to collect the data", "ways to interpret the data," "ways to share the research findings") and assign topics to meeting spaces and times. Patient/public partners get to choose which session to attend depending on their interests and concerns. Open Space Meetings are all about having discussions versus "eyes forward" presentations. Following the breakout groups, everyone reconvenes together to share decisions made in the smaller groups with the larger group. The role of the researcher is as a resource support, if patient/public partners need additional information in order to come to a decision.
Open Space Meetings can be useful for:
- Giving power and control to patient/public partners around deciding what is important to people with lived experience when it comes to research decisions.
- Creating an opportunity for addressing and reflecting the needs and experiences of a large group with diverse interests in research decisions.
Note: Open Space Meetings are extremely flexible. Make sure you book a space that has a large room for the plenary sessions and a sufficient number of breakout rooms for the smaller group discussions. Make sure you have enough recorders to capture what is being decided upon in the breakout groups.