Are all design agencies the same? And what makes us a little different?

In any design agency you might expect to see a smattering of shiny Apple Macs, there may be the odd hipster beard on an odd hipster, there might be the archetypal table football game. Throw in some exposed brickwork, maybe stripped floors and some cool artwork. If W1A is to be believed, you should expect a decent amount of ‘fun’. You might also expect to see a degree of similarity in the service offer across design agencies: creative inspiration, stylish design online and in print, and beautiful branding.

At Touch Design we deliver on all of the above services. But what sets us apart is that we genuinely offer more to our clients. We reach the parts many other agencies fail to reach. This is due to the fact that our creative process is not confined to the walls and corridors of Touch Towers. Through the additional service offer of ‘Open Space facilitation’ we regularly get out and about around the UK working with hundreds of organisational employees, improving their creativity, levels of employee engagement, and the flow of good ideas.

Kirstie and Katherine, our two skilled Open Space facilitators, have experience of delivering Open Space events nationwide. In just the past few weeks we have run four Open Space events for clients – Milton Keynes University NHS Hospital, the wider NHS community in Bedfordshire, Self Help UK in Nottingham, and the National Trust in Derbyshire. These engagement sessions have got staff and ‘stakeholders’ collaborating like never before. They’re interactive, fascinating and extremely productive. As one participant at our National Trust session at Hardwick Hall commented: “It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been to an all-day event and not ended up with a migraine!” Praise indeed.

What is Open Space and how does it work?

Open Space is the antithesis of the stereotypical dull conference day of repetitive speeches and is in no way related to the plenary discussion sessions that are supposed to be the jam of the PowerPoint sandwich.

Open Space events have been used successfully all over the world to enable a self-organising group to use its collective imagination to deal with complex issues by sharing ideas and pooling knowledge in a short space of time. Open Space takes away the pre-defined agendas and topics of normal seminars and conferences and throws the discussion floor over to the delegates. The delegates bring the issues, experience and topics of conversation, and whatever needs to be discussed tends to be discussed.

Open Space has a ‘law of two feet’ which means individuals take responsibility for what they care about - standing up for their own interests and using their own two feet to move to whatever place is where they can best contribute and/or learn. In addition to this ‘law’ there are four principles to guide the process:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. When it starts is the right time
  4. When it's over, it's over.

Open Space can be run for groups of any size, from single figures to thousands of people. We’ve worked with SMEs, large businesses, arts organisations, not-for-profit employers, organisations of all shapes and sizes, and, when the conditions are right, the response is always the same: it’s seen as the most refreshing, energising, morale-boosting and honest exchange of ideas that the teams have ever had. There is no set duration for an Open Space event although you will probably be looking at a minimum of a half-day session to truly explore the issues you want to address. Many Open Space sessions run over two days.

If you are interested in exploring how Open Space might work for you, just get in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can tell you far more about how we work the sessions and the benefits that clients have received. You would also be welcome to attend one of our future Open Space events to see the process in action. We can arrange the whole event for you or work with you on the Open Space facilitation, it depends on your needs and resources. Our door is always open and there’s some space in our diary, so we look forward to hearing from you soon 


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