Warm Up

Harrison Owen owenhh at mindspring.com
Tue May 1 04:29:18 PDT 2001

At 02:51 PM 5/1/01 +1000, you wrote:

>I've heard some criticism of open space along the lines of the group not
>being warmed up enough for the bulletin board and market place.
>I've never used a specific warm-up immediately before opening the space
>(although I have been involved in or used storytelling the previous night
>as well as playback theatre).

>I think I believe (that's confidence for you :-) that if the OS theme is
>appropriate and the group are passionate then a warm-up is not needed.
>However my recent research into warm ups for new groups, cohesive groups
>and ending groups has raised the question about a warm-up especially for a
>new group (where the participants don't know each other very much or at
>all). Would such warm-ups (before opening the space) add or detract from
>the experience? I'd be interested in your thoughts and experiences.

Viv -- my experience says that your belief is well founded. I have never
seen any attempt to "warm a group up" for Open Space that materially
improved performance. More usually it seems to get in the way, and may
actually be counter-productive. My best example was a bank that decided to
hedge its bet in Open Space by doing a day of creativity enhancement up
front. Truthfully it was grand fun, but at the end most folks asked why we
wasted all that time. I can imagine warm-ups being useful in situations
where you have a whole mess of folks gathered together about some issue for
which they have no passion -- which unfortunately seems to be the situation
in many of our organizational meeting. But if we encounter that situation
at the beginning of an Open Space, we simply haven't done our homework.
That space never should have been opened --


Harrison Owen
7808 River Falls Drive
Potomac, MD 20854 USA
phone 301-469-9269
fax 301-983-9314
Open Space Training www.openspaceworld.com
Open Space Institute www.openspaceworld.org
Personal website www.mindspring.com/~owenhh

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