OSLIST: Re: Thinking about OPEN SPACE

Keith, Jaymee KeithJ at WSDOT.WA.GOV
Mon Dec 6 08:27:45 PST 1999

Just a short word of appreciation to Harrison for these words of wisdom.  I
think we all suffer some anxiety and nerves when planning and anticipating
an Open Space.  However, I think you are "right-on" with the idea that all
the best-laid plans go by the wayside when we allow the participants to
drive the train and make it their event.  And so I think it should be.

Thank you.
Jaymee Keith
Ombudsman's Office
Washington State Dept. of Transportation

> ----------
> From:         Harrison Owen[SMTP:owen at TMN.COM]
> Sent:         Friday, December 03, 1999 5:33 AM
> Subject:      Re: OSLIST:  Re: Thinking about OPEN SPACE
> At 10:54 PM 12/2/99 +1100, you wrote:
> >Just some thoughts following on from some of the recent discussion on
> >the net about how Open Space can/could/should work.
> >I think I have learnt to use Open Space with great simplicity.
> *******************************
> I find myself very comfortable with what Brian says -- but I also know
> that
> there are lots of ways to Rome, and each traveler will have different
> requirements along the way. From where I sit it is less about the "right"
> way to do things -- knowing that the "way" will vary constantly as the
> facilitator, client and situation varies. What might remain a useful
> constant is an effort to keep the space Open and Fresh. In this regard, I
> have found a simple practice to be very useful. Each time I open space, I
> think of one more thing not to do. Since Opening Space for me begins the
> moment you think about it, and continues till it's over -- whenever that
> is
> -- there are a lot of opportunities not to do something.  Long ago, I laid
> aside warm-up exercises and ice-breakers in Open Space 'cause none of that
> seemed to have any useful effect -- except maybe to give me something to
> do
> when I was feeling a tad nervous.
> But recently, I have tried the same "not doing" approach before and after
> the Open Space. This has nothing to do with lack of interest, or
> un-willingness to spend more time/energy. I think, it is really about
> focus
> and presence. What I am finding is that time spent with my self clearing
> out crap and getting myself here if not all there sort of thing is most
> useful. When focused and present (as much as I can) time and a specific
> program -- as in meeting for a day afterwards or whatever -- become less
> important. It may be nothing, it may be 5 minutes, or it may be a full
> week
> of intense dialogue. And all that has happened.
> I guess the point is that I have never truly know in advance what i was
> going to do. For a long time that bothered me, and it certainly bothered
> the client. But truthfully, any plan that I ever made up-front didn't
> quite
> happen. So might as well not do it to begin with. I think.
> Harrison

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