Accessibility To Training

Michael Herman mherman at
Fri Feb 9 15:50:13 PST 2001

hello all,

not sure i understand the need for additional funding for trainings.
the short answer to "why so expensive?" is that that is the going rate
for this kind of training.   another answer:  "because that's the price
the organizers choose."

a bit longer answer might be "they're not always that expensive,
sometimes the organizers lower the price."  as a host of the chicago
trainings with harrison, i always considered it a privilege to be a part
of the open space story in that sort of way.  i never turned anyone away
for lack of funds.

my question about the funding discussion dave opens now is this:  is the
funding for the participants or the hosts?   hosting has its own
benefits, and those are not all non-cash.  running a training brings
credibility that can be turned into cash in the larger marketplace, over
time, with more and more training participants and with client

providing funding to participants seems more like subsidizing would-be
trainers and puts us in a mode of certifying trainers in a way that we
have always resisted certifying practitioners.  i think this is a
slippery slope and one we need not attempt.

if what we want is more trainings, we need more trainers.  how would we
feel about buying plane tickets for all those who would like to be
trainers to go to potomac maryland and attend a train the trainer course
by harrison.  and then, of course, there is the question of what he
would say that he hasn't already been saying?

seems it comes down to two sayings for me... (1)  we really do live in
open space  (meaning it's not just a method we use here and there, but
it's an approach to living and working in human systems, which we teach
and share and spread by how we are everyday)  and (2) that passion needs
to be bounded by responsibility (which leads me to ask what we are most
passionate about here).

if our passion is for more trainings available to more people, then we
need to support an increase in the number of folks who feel ready,
willing and able to teach others directly.  yes, one way to do that is
to subsidize trainings, thus raising the effective average price paid
for trainings, making the offering of such events more profitable and
attractive.  this seems more likely to raise existing trainers' incomes
rather than create new trainers.  harrison's efforts to expand the ranks
of the trainers seems much more direct, more effective, and more in line
with our shared practice.  and then i come back to my sense that the
offering of trainings, with or without harrison, is a privelege that has
real, and economic, benefits on its own.

so how do we create more training opportunities by creating more
where do trainers come from?
would we subsidize trainings by trainers who've not hosted one of
harrison's trainings?
if i offered my own training like birgitt, would i my participants be
eligible for osi scholarships?
what about someone i train who wants to host there own training next

in the end, i think we support trainings best by supporting trainers
like laurel who came forward some time ago saying, "i need to become a
trainer quickly, how can i do this?"  we offered advice and resources
and story.  she did her work and brought it back to share.  viola, a new

if other emerging leaders like elena come forward, or are brought
forward by friends like lisa heft, with real needs for supporting an
emerging practice, then i think we do ourselves a much greater service
by funding those.  would be great to have her in san francisco this
spring.  i hope her dream comes true.

for what it's worth,


p.s. chris weaver emailed me earlier this week asking "why so quiet"
these days.  was nice to have somebody checking in on me.  guess i'm not
so quiet anymore.  sorry i couldn't be more concise here.  <grin>


Michael Herman
300 West North Avenue #1105
Chicago IL 60610
312-280-7838 voice
312-280-7837 fax
-evolution at work - online book on open space
-michael herman associates - consulting - online open space
-websites worth visiting - community
-michael's open notebook - journal

mailto:mherman at

"(David Koehler)" wrote:

> Dear OST Friends:
> A discussion took place at the Open Space Institute - US board meeting
> (via
> telephone) last month that is worth sharing.  In fact, I took on the
> responsibility to convey this discussion.  It had to do with
> accessibility to
> OST training programs.  I began the discussion by asking the question,
> "Why
> are the training sessions for OST usually so expensive?"
> As we talked about this issue, a more important question came out,
> which was
> how to make training opportunities more accessible for people
> everywhere.
> The concern I have is, if we recognize a need to be more inclusive in
> bringing people into the OST community, then how do we provide more
> access to
> training?  And cost is certainly one of the barriers we must overcome.
> The issue of inclusiveness was one of the prominent themes of the
> Berlin
> OSonOS this past fall.  So the challenge is not just for any single
> country,
> but a challenge worldwide.
> OSI-US has made a commitment to providing help in making OST more
> available
> to people and groups everywhere who may need assistance.  In our
> membership
> renewal letter that will soon be emailed out, we have stated the
> following
> guidelines for granting assistance:
> "We are setting aside funds to offer assistance for a variety of
> things
> related to open space.  Whether it is providing books or helping to
> secure a
> facilitator to do training, we can be of help.  The goals developed
> are as
> follows:
> · To support under-served areas
> · To support involvement in open space
> · To leverage recipients action and resources with OSI-US actions and
> funds
> · To have commitments from recipients to share the stories of their
> experiences."
> We would ask that anyone who can help us improve upon this effort,
> please do
> so.  Raising and dispensing funds is just one idea for making training
> opportunities more accessible to people everywhere.  What else might
> we be
> doing?
> Thank you,
> David Koehler
> Member, OSI-US Board

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