Public Lab Research note

Set up a schedule grid for an Open Space event

by liz | March 07, 2018 22:01 07 Mar 22:01 | #15884 | #15884

lead image from the 2016 Annual Barnraising at LUMCON, Cocodrie, Louisiana with @klie, @gretchengehrke, and mystery person

Background -- why are we making a schedule grid?

The facilitation style of Barnraising is based in large part on open space technology, a way for a group to self-organize a meeting. Read more here:

Schedule grid

This is an activity for more than one person, up to 5 or 6 can help

Supplies you should get:

  • Rolls of 3' (1m) wide paper
  • Painters tape (the blue kind that doesn't leave residue) or some other tape
  • Colorful wide-tipped markers
  • A ream of printer paper
  • Scissors, or some kind of cutting knife


All: find a large empty wall at the heart of the main gathering space

Person or Team 1:

  • Roll out a piece of 3' wide paper about 6' or 7' tall
  • Tape it to the wall
  • Repeat for a 2nd and 3rd piece of paper
  • Use tape or markers to visually separate the three vertical strips from each other -- each strip will be one day
  • Invite team two to add their signs to the schedule grid and help them do so.
  • Once Team 2 is done, use markers or tape to make three vertical columns -- one for each breakout room on each day. That'll be two lines of marker or tape per vertical paper roll.

Person or Team 2:

  • Write on printer paper "Friday" "Saturday" and "Sunday"
  • Figure out and then write the names of the (three) breakout spaces where sessions can be held -- write each name three times, one for each day
  • When Team 1 is ready, tape "Friday" "Saturday" and "Sunday" as high at the top as you can reach
  • Right underneath, tape up the names of the breakout rooms under each day.

Person or Team 3:

  • Figure out how long you want each session to be (80 minutes is nice)
  • Find out what time breakfast lunch and dinner will be, and then figure out how many session blocks you will have in between each. Set aside an hour before each dinnertime for "Report Backs"
  • Wait for Team 1 and 2 to get all their taping and header signage done
  • Along the lefthand vertical edge of the schedule grid, add signs for the starting and ending time for each meal, each session block, and each pre-dinner Report Back.
  • Using marker or tape, demarcate rows across the entire schedule grid -- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an hour before dinner for "Report Backs"
  • Customize the grid: On the grid, specify the first 90 minutes to 2 hours of the first full day for self-organizing the schedule. Also on the grid, specify what time on Sunday do people need to clean up and pack up and be ready to leave.

Person or Team 4:

  • Fold and tear a lot of printer paper into half sheets

Tiny schedule grid at 2014's Tidmarsh regional barnraising!

image descriptionIMG_20170624_125923_729.jpg


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