BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

July 3, 2014 | Print Event Twitter Facebook Email

Quality Café – Open Space Meetings

A blank agenda. A circle of chairs. A complex problem. Room for multiple conversations. The Law of Two Feet.

These are the typical ingredients of Open Space meetings – a unique way of leading meetings so that they unleash the creative potential and leadership of participants. Open Space meetings are effective with any number of people and all organizations; they just require a little trust in the unknown.

Participants create and manage their own agenda by pitching topics related to a specific challenge or question (like, “What are the best strategies to ensure that our organization can accomplish successful and safe transitions of care between acute care and the community?”). They then host parallel conversations that other participants are encouraged to join and move between based on their interests – the Law of Two Feet!

Having co-created the agenda and been free to follow their passions, people will take responsibility very quickly for solving problems and moving into action. Seizing central control (i.e. the agenda and assignments) in this way generates commitment, action, innovation, and follow-through. It’s a great way to engage frontline staff and keep the best conversations out of the hallway.

We’ll learn from the Surgical Quality Action Network’s success – it asked 170 people at its annual meeting, “What does it take to provide top surgical care in BC?” Here are some pictures of the topic pitches and resulting discussions.


Marlies van Dijk
Director, Clinical Improvement