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Yay Questions and Open Space Technology

Open Space Technology is a facilitation technique used for many situations, and with many variations. However, there are some that are typical of each open space that you become part of. There is an opening, creating the market place, holding the space, and closing it.

For Agile Games Open 2020, we ran Open Space Technology as our facilitation method. And for the closing part of the space, where typically people sit in a circular fashion and say something we tried something new. We used the Yay Questions from Management 3.0.

blue and yellow board game, Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The two main questions to ask in the Yay Questions are as follow:

  • What did we do well?
  • What did we learn?

As you can see there is a spin on the positive aspect of what you might be familiar as retrospective. As we ran the questions, there was a comment that isn’t we talking about what can be done better. And that’s hidden in the second question; what did we learn? If there is something that was not as expected, and we want to talk about it, it’s much better to think about the learning and talk about that, versus talking about what we failed at. It also will bring up the good vibe in the audience, and you are building on top of what others are saying, bringing the spirit of all up.

Another experiment we tried was to make it random on who talks next. This was helpful, especially in the closing circle. We called the 3rd person from the top of the next speaker. However, it seemed that this didn’t make it random. However, as it was open space and whatever that happens was the right thing to happen, people would have skipped the third person and move to the next person if they have already talked. It didn’t make any difference if you have chosen the first person or the third person for randomness sake in zoom. This is what we learned!

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