Keith, Jaymee KeithJ at WSDOT.WA.GOV
Wed Sep 2 13:47:56 PDT 1998

Hi David --

How exciting to be preparing for your first OS event.

This is only my opinion, but if you have made your preference clear to
the Vice Pres. that attendance be voluntary, and he has chosen to
override your wishes, I believe you have met your obligation.  Now you
must work within the framework you've been granted.

So far as decisions as to how many breakouts you'll have, why not let
that be determined by the number of issues surfacing and how many folks
show up for each?  Sometimes a topic is announced, two or three people
show up, talk a few minutes on the issue, and wander off to join another
breakout.  I'd suggest you keep it very loose and allow folks to go
where they want.

Asking for written reports on the breakout session makes me
uncomfortable.  Can you post sheets of flipchart paper on the walls and
ask the announcer of each issue to make notes as appropriate?  Too much
structure can stifle creativity and the feeling of freedom that Open
Space confers.

This is just one gal's opinion, David -- and not an expert by any means.
 I hope you enjoy this event and that you achieve satisfaction from it.

Best regards,
Jaymee Keith
Ombudsman's Office
Washington State Dept. of Transportation

>From:  David Cox[SMTP:dwcox at PAWNEE.ASTATE.EDU]
>Sent:  Wednesday, September 02, 1998 12:59 PM
>Subject:       Help?
>My name is David Cox and I am a dept chair (and prof of ed) at Arkansas State
>Univ.  I attended an OS training event in August in Maine with Harrison Owen
>and Sue Inches.  I have just joined this listserv.
>I am getting ready to hold my first Open Space.  I have sold the concept to
>Vice President for Academic Affairs.  He is willing to trust me with his
>retreat for Academic Affairs Sept 17 (all day) and Sept 18 (half day).  The
>is about 25 in number.  About 7 Deans are included in the 25.  I don't want
>mess up (at least not big time) my first time out of the chute.
>I have four questions I would like some help with.  (I have e-mailed both
>Harrison and Sue, but I don't their schedules.  They may not have time to get
>back to me.)
>(1) As it stands right now attendance at the retreat is expected and not
>voluntary.  I would prefer it be voluntary but I don't think I can sell the
>President on that.  As a manager he expects his people to be there. I can see
>that the Law of Two Feet is honored during Open Space, but am I making a big
>mistake by not insisting on a voluntary retreat?  If the retreat itself is
>voluntary should I back out?  Will it work to honor voluntary participation
>the retreat?
>(2) With only a day and a half to work with, am I okay to ask for written
>at the end of day 1?  (I'll print overnight and do the prioritization,
>action stuff on the morning of day 2)
>(3) Is there a rule of thumb for how many breakout spaces and rooms you plan
>for during a one and a half hour session?  I know the book says 5 breakout
>rooms for 100 people, but what about rooms AND spaces.  When I prepare the
>time matrix, how many breakouts (post its with time and location) do I have
>a particular session (e.g., 10:30 to 12:00)?
>For a group of 25, 4 breakouts, 3, 6,?
>(4) If you folks recommend (for example) 4 breakouts per session and I have 3
>sessions in day 1, that allows for 12 issues to emerge.  What would I do if
>more than 12 issues surfaced?  Isn't it important for everyone to get their
>I hope somebody out there can give me some quick guidance.
>Excitement combined with a little anxiety has set in.
>Thank you so much!

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