Empower: ASU IT Professional Community Retreat

Download your Open Space discussion guide here!

Available as a fillable PDF or Google Doc. 

Open Space Technology

What is Open Space? 

Open Space is a dynamic group activity that gives us the opportunity to support positive transformation through improved communication and enhanced collaboration focused around a central topic, question or concern.

Open Space Map: Question mark, word clouds, two feet, arrows, group of people

At Empower 2021, we will focus on this convening question: 

What can the ASU IT Community do to co-create a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to "accelerate positive social outcomes through the seamless integration of cutting-edge technological innovation and scalability"*? 

*From Feb. 12, 2021 ABOR Strategic Enterprise Plan

What is your role? 

You are the creator of the agenda.  You have the power to see it through. Your momentum, desire and creativity will transform the space through meaningful conversation and deliberation. 

Two Feet

If you are not learning or contributing, use your two feet (or click of the mouse) to take you wherever you will be more in tune with the conversation. You are in control. 

Key principles apply to how you navigate in open space:

Whoever comes are the right people
four people standing together
Whoever is attracted to the same conversation are the people who can contribute most to that conversation—because they care. So they are exactly the ones—for the whole group-- who are capable of initiating action.
Wherever it happens is the right place
Woman found location
Whether you find yourself self-organizing in the hallway with colleagues, meeting community members in the town square or hopping on a zoom, wherever your conversation happens is the right place.
When it starts is the right time
Woman in a clock

The creative spirit has its own time, and our task is to make our best contribution and enter the flow of creativity when it starts.


Whatever happens, is the only thing that could've
woman in nature
We are all limited by our own pasts and expectations.  This principle acknowledges we'll all do our best to focus on NOW-- the present time and place-- and not get bogged down in what could've or should've happened.

2021 Open Space Actionable Items


Connecting the unconnected

Leveraging ASU resources used for students in need of technology for staff through a check out process; scaling the efforts of the Infrastructure team .


Create Digital Trust/Privacy Guild

We'll create a Slack-based guild focused on Digital Trust and Privacy, bringing together a community of practice to talk about concerns in privacy, ways to move digital trust forward, and projects that could execute on that shared vision.


Intentionality to establish trust.

The intent is inherently tied to trust. “I have no agenda” is a positive thing If the trust relationship isn’t established, we may use intent as a proxy for trust "create an intentional culture, Be brave -- be transparent and call out differences at the outset, Most importantly be OK with being challenged



Give students a data endpoint where they can access all ASU data about themselves (so they can see it, and so that they can build useful tools/apps from the data)


Empower a storytelling mindset

Deploy a simple ASU storytelling framework across ASU with empowering tools and resources that help teams and individuals. All the work needs to be moved but a story, if your work doesn't have a solid story behind it.  It might fail.


Social Connectedness App

Allow students to connect with others who have similar interests. Build features into the Mobile App that use social interests, academics, location. etc as criteria to connect with others


Spread the concept of a customer centric mindset

It was an impromptu session. We met to discover like-minded individuals. It was encouraging to gather and realize our connection. It will encourage me to continue to speak out with the confidence that there is understanding and some unity in the belief in our community.


Dashboard showing diversity metrics and goals

Diversity working group lead initiative partner with data team. They have already dipped a toe in...


Creating content for the ASU app/ASU Health Check app that includes engagement + wellbeing

We'd like to integrate content into the ASU app/ASU Health Check app around engagement and wellbeing, and possibly with teaching/learning resources or reminders of opportunities within ASU (think Genius Bar, Changemaker spaces, centers and institutes around ASU). Content needed!


Improve upon and leverage existing tools (e.g. Career EDGE, Xenexa/Brass Ring and ServiceNow) to mitigate bias during the hiring process

Before posting a job/position: raise self-awareness and understand bias (training on Career EDGE); re-evaluate the skills and requirements the team truly needs, rather than automatically posting the same position (leverage Visual Task Board tool in ServiceNow, which the Experience Center has done), then redact or deprioritize identifying applicant information (in Xenexa before hiring manager can download details from resumes and cover letters).


Regular mindfulness messages encouraging students to feel that they matter.

Work with the ASU Mobile App team to propose how to create the content for this.


Help Desk Suppoty

I found the KB accessible to all, 1st tier or tier 1.5 a great idea for Help Desk, community With Help Desk purpose


Sharing info By developing trust and inquiring about unknowns.

Explaining reasons for wanting to know the unknowns, authenticity or good intentions.


Academic Positive Nudges

Use learner data (e.g. Canvas) to nudge students to take positive actions in their classes/programs


Create an Accessibility Purchasing Process

Work with the governance team; Create a checklist to get users thinking about accessibility


Create an ASU affiliate chat board

A chat board that streams live to www.asu.edu that allows students, faculty and staff to express their ideas, opinions, and experiences in the moment to gauge the pulse of the ASU community. Convene an exploratory meeting with capstone faculty in one or more colleges, communications managers including Melissa Bakutis, and Sean Snitzer, and any other participants who are interested in forming this initiative.