Strategic Planning in Open Space

Larry Peterson lpasoc at
Fri Oct 22 10:59:20 PDT 1999

I have Opened the Space in a number of Strategic Planning Processes. There
is one brief story of its used with the Royal Bank Risk Management on my
web-site. In that case, the vision was developed by the senior team. The
Strategic Directions were developed in the Open Space with the participants
given the freedom to act on what they developed, up to a budget of $100,000.
The Open Space report became the basis for the senior team in developing the
formal "plan" that was to be submitter to the CEO. However, those involved
in the Open Space were already acting on the plan the day after the left the
event. It meant that the three-year plan was largely completed in 2 years.
Henry Mintizberg's new book "Strategy Safari" helps to unpack most of the
traditional planing processes in some useful ways. Open Space enables an
organization to deal with the emergent, by letting key elements of the plan
emerge and by establishing a community of people who can respond to the
unexpected. To me it is always an interaction between the "intentional"
planning process and developing the capability to deal with the "emergent"
opportunities and challenges than cannot be anticipated.


Larry Peterson
Associates in Transformation
41 Appleton Ave., Toronto, ON,
Canada, M6E 3A4
Tel:/Fax: 416-653-4829

lpasoc at

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