a report from a discussion at OSONOS re: what is open space?

Birgitt Bolton birgitt at worldchat.com
Mon Nov 23 14:37:28 PST 1998

Because this report is in keeping with a topic that we have discussed on the
list, I thought I would send it along. It will appear in the proceedings
when they get sent out in a few weeks.

Warmest regards,

Open Space on Open Space
Report # ??

Opportunity: What is Open Space and What is it not?

Leader: Birgitt Bolton

Susan Brayton
Romy Shovelton
Barry Owen
Katrina Petri
Gilbert Brenson Lazan
William Ashton
Tom Thiss
Stella Humphries
Sheila Isakson

Birgitt presented the group with the question of What is Open Space and What
is it not? And noted that the question is much harder to answer than meets
the eye. The discussion that followed was creative, interesting, and deep.
It recognized the components of both form and essence and that often folks
new to Open Space are after form only, and that essence is much harder to
v Os is an attitude to a setting. Love, acceptance, open space
v Os is authenticity from the heart
v Os is an epistemology-a way of knowing
v Os is a circle, a group created synergy
v Os exists throughout the world, not necessarily named so  ie: a "minga" in
the Andes
v Os is a way of knowing and a way of co-creating reality
v Os is a way of being which precedes a way of knowing
v Os is a ritual that creates a container for evoking to occur
v Os is a format to regain our natural ability
v Maybe anything that is less than 2 ½ days is not OS-needs a period of time
to run through all that really happens
v Often people learn the form or the essence. Very few OS practitioners
learn both. They need both.
v In OS the seed gets planted, and often does not materialize until after
the Open Space looks like it is done
v The term OS is used in lots of connotations ie: landscape
v OS is inner space and outer space
v The physical manifestation of a circle is profound---a fundamental pattern
of the universe
v The difference felt when in Open Space is palpable
v The role of the facilitator is invisible
v Appropriate control is about the timing of the structure. Be careful about
saying that OS is not about control. It does have appropriate control
v Possibly we can't not control - we all tend to control but need to be
sensitive to leaving our control behind and leave it open for group control
v Some people are so open minded their brains fall out
v Control of self rather than control of others
v OS is a discipline-setting of standard-root of discipline is disciple
v OS is about control by words-or is this a function of the people who do
open space only in words rather than using other creative means?
v OS thrives on a clear theme and time pressure
v OS is about commitment
v There is control in initially setting form, in creating ritual-the space
is not opened until this is done at which point we have a transformative
moment that is no longer about control
v Is it discipline?
v Is it intention?
v 7% of what we communicate is the words. 93% is non-verbal
v control is about intention. This can be intention about good service or
about self service. Intention about good service is needed to Open Space.

Birgitt Bolton of Dalar Associates
55 Ravina Cres., Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
 L9G 2E8
phone: 905-648-5775  fax: 905-648-2262

More information about the OSList mailing list