open space and convergence

owen owen at
Mon Nov 9 03:09:05 PST 1998

On the subject of divergence/convergence -- I believe that BOTH occur
through out the time in Open space, although the one (divergence is most in
evidence at the beginning and the other (convergence) at the end. This is
true whether or not you do something formally to converge issues at the
conclusion. At the beginning -- there is a broad divergence as issues are
identified, but then there is a very marked convergence around specific
issues in each of the groups -- then outward again at evening news etc.
Point is that both convergence and divergence take place normally and
naturally during the open space process, even as they do in life. Sometimes
more of one, and sometimes more of the other, but both are present. Sort of
like breathing. in and out. And you can just do one for very long. Anyhow,
for me it is important to see both, and surely not to fell that open space
is only divergence. That would be like breathing out all the time, which we
call expiration. the results are not quite what one had in mind.

At 10:41 PM 11/1/98 -0500, you wrote:
To date, whenever possible, as do some other OS folks, I negotiate to do a
"convergence" exercise at the end of Open Space. I had taken to describing
what happened in Open Space as divergent, and then followed by a convergent
time. I wrestled with whether or not to "close" the space at the end of the
day or two in "real" Open Space prior to the convergence and have in fact
done this and then another closing at the end of the whole thing. It worked
fine. When I have worked with Harrison, he disagreed. He was clear that the
whole thing fit together and that one didn't need to "close" the space until
the end. I just couldn't wrap my logical mind around that one. Anyway, to
make a long story short, I think he's right (can I believe I just said
that?). In the last OS I did, I did not use the words "divergent" and
"convergent". Instead, I described to the group that what we did when we
posted items was to capture individual passion/responsibility. What we did
when we broke into the discussion groups was to capture smaller group
passion/responsibility. What we did when we met as a collective for the
purpose of determining what we had the most energy for at this time, was to
capture the organization's passion/responsibility. And each built from the
other, evolved from the other, interacted with the other. No one more or
less important than the other. And then when we were all done with as much
as we could do with awakening to our full passion and responsibility with a
view to action, also in an evolving way, WE closed the space. And had a
sense together of "stay tuned for the next episode". Hungry for action, and
for more Open Space. I liked this. And hope it interests your thinking.

Warmest regards,

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


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