ADHD Open Space
ADHD Open Space Podcast
The Dangerously Addictive Law of Mobility

The Dangerously Addictive Law of Mobility

Made for Open Space. But tempting for the world...

Here's the thing about Open Space: aside from providing people with the oppor- tunity to share the things they're passionate about, it also provides them with an op- portunity to be responsible. That one law I mentioned? It's known as "The Law of Mobility", and it is pretty simply expressed:

If you are not benefiting from or contributing to whatever's going on in front of you, move somewhere you can.

Note that it's not called "the opportunity of mobility" or "the you-might-want-to of mobility." It's the Law.

It's the only law - as I pointed out, there's various interpretations of the principles, but the Law of Mobility applies equally to everyone. Even the person leading the session can use it: "Y'know, I thought this was a good topic for discussion, but I don't really feel it anymore. Let's do something else."

Think about it for a moment: what does an entire event run on the Law of Mobility mean?

As the session leader, it means that if people are listening to you, they absolutely want to be there.

You're not filler, you're not the least boring speaker in a time slot - you are showing that you care about your subject by virtue of being there talking about it, and the people who are there with you also care, or else they wouldn't be.

If someone does leave, that's got to be for one reason only: they have something more im- portant to do. Why would you want to begrudge them that? Take credit for inspiring them to do something they feel passionate about!

There's another benefit: the Law of Two Feet does not suffer fools for long.

If someone is just going through the motions, or regurgitating stale material, or speaking from a position of arrogance rather than authenticity - the crowd knows.

I've seen groups gather, start listening, and then, bit by bit, fade away. Meanwhile the person presenting - never a novice, just someone used to having a captive audience - grows wild-eyed in desperation. Their material is being held to a higher standard: rather than relying on titles or reputations or even theatricality, the attendees demand that you be relevant now.

I've heard of people who, after attending an open space event, choose to exercise the Law of Mobility at a traditional convention — much to the consternation of the "vetted" presenters.

Reportedly one presenter was so vexed by this pattern, they asked if they could lock the doors after they started speaking, to prevent people from leaving.

Thankfully, fire codes prevailed, and that particular presenter was simply forced to level up his game to keep the crowd.

The four principles are guidelines. They can be malleable. But the Law of Mobility is essential. It keeps people mindful of what they are doing, what they are saying, and makes sure that the day stays interesting, relevant, and dynamic.

* Note: Harrison Owen originally called this “the Law of Two Feet” but I can only imagine that is because he never had to explain it to someone sitting in a wheelchair with only one foot, grinning at your awkwardness as you realized the ableism inherent in the system. I did have to do that, and never used that phrase again.

Serendipity Labs Logo Tagline Registered Trademark
The ADHD Open Space is made possible through a partnership with Serenity Labs private office and coworking spaces, throughout the U.S. and in the U.K. as well!

Share ADHD Open Space

ADHD Open Space
ADHD Open Space Podcast
The ADHD Open Space Podcast is for adult professionals living with ADHD and those who interact with them. We’ll talk about how it affects our work and those we care about.
As the “open space’ implies, there is room to explore more, so feel free to leave suggestions and comments for each episode!
The ADHD Open Space event will be January 20th, 2024 in Madison, WI. Registration opens December 1st at!