"modified open space"

ralphsc ralphsc at earthlink.net
Mon May 4 07:34:28 PDT 1998

Dear Friends,

     I'm a bit surprised at the reaction to my little off-handed wise-crack.

     Do we really think the direction one walks makes a big difference?  I have walked clockwise, counter-clockwise, in a weave, figure-eights, and randomly.  Other patterns, too, I guess.  Can't recall everything I've done.  Once I watched as a colleague stood in the center of the room at a microphone.  She barely moved.

     No difference.  They all worked.

     Well, some difference, surely.  To whom?  And what difference?  Did some of these events work better than others?  Well, sure.  But how am I to measure that?  In any group I'm bound to have people who respond in different ways.  Even very homogeneous groups embody dimensions of diversity.  For example, if I were facilitating an OS event for people in some community where for some reason, everything is oriented counter-clockwise, there'd be folks who just happen to be... I don't know ­ other.  That's my guess, anyway.  I cannot control for all variation, even I could understand all the variation that's present.  I cannot do things so perfectly that everybody will be so well taken care of from the start that everything we want to happen will occur instantly.

     I'm bound to walk in the wrong direction (or something) at some point.  It's okay.  Folks will use their time and space to handle it.  Let people in open space use it to do what it's so very good at.  Together they're better than I am.

     Have you ever had people show up late at an OS meeting.  Happens to me just about every time out.  I usually introduce them to other participants and suggest the newbies get filled in that way.  Takes about four seconds before they're happily on their way.  They don't get to hear me explain the law of two feet, or see which direction I walk in, or anything.

Ralph Copleman

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