indigenous and self organizing

Birgitt Bolton birgitt at
Mon Aug 23 21:08:35 PDT 1999

Hi Jeff,
all the best with your dissertation research. What a wonderful topic. I
unfortunately don't have the time at present to put my learnings down here
and hopefully we will connect somewhere like OSONOS to have the discussion.
I would say though that Open Space works in these situations for the same
reasons it always works :-).  In this work, as I do so often with corporate
clients, it is important to attend to griefwork prior to the Open Space so
that people get a chance to tell their stories and to be heard by the
collective, in my experience. A story telling circle to honour the past and
the present before moving on to any Open Space or other means to work with


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

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, August 23, 1999 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: indigenous and self organizing

Birgitt wrote:

"A few meetings focused on the use of Open Space Technology for
reconcilliation with Aboriginal peoples, the details of which were almost
identical to the conversations I have been in here in Canada regarding the
use of Open Space Technology for reconcilliation with indiginous peoples

Birgitt, will you say more about this please? My dissertation research is
on the topic and I'm interested in stories, contact persons, & good
thinking about why Open Space works in such situations (from modern AND
indigenous perspectives).

Birgitt wrote:

"Doing an Open Space meeting is an "intervention" into the natural way of
things. So, if the natural way of things is self organizing, why do we even
do Open Space? Harrison has pointed out that we do it to create the
conditions for self organization to be possible. So...if that is so, maybe
we are not about naturally being a self organizing system????"

Here my hunch is that Open Space is a rediscovery of our natural self
organizing. I love the fact that Open Space is rooted in several indigenous
traditions and practices. To me it's as if indigenous science is sneaking
into modern organizations under the guise of leading edge management. Of
course Open Space does not encompass more than a fraction of the complexity
and power of indigenous science (nor do we claim it does). But it's a
welcome return to our inner knowing that we are woven into the universe.


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