More Open Space in Ithaca

Todd Saddler Laurietodd at
Mon May 7 05:47:35 PDT 2001

Hi everyone!

We held another Open Space event here in Ithaca Saturday.  The theme was
more narrowly focused than the last one : "Can we create a cooperative
venture in Ithaca that provides a range of goods and services for sustainable
planning, building and remodeling?"  We met all day, 9 to 5.  There were only
4 of us to start with, and 4 others came and went, and three others would
have come but couldn't so asked for the notes.

After discussing the 4 principles and one law, we decided to make the time
slots more flexible.  Each person noted how many minutes they thought it
would take to discuss their topic - there were about 8 or 10.  When we added
them up, we had enough time to do all of them as a single group, so we
decided to do it that way.  So it wasn't exactly OST, but it worked quite
well.  We got tons of work done and have the beginnings of a strategic plan
and action plans.  We decided that the first thing we would do is start a
buying club for goods that we and other local sustainable living types are
interested in now, but can't find locally.

The thing that struck me is, that two of the people who attended could be
considered moderately difficult people.  In another meeting format, they
might not have been invited, or could have appeared to be disruptive.  But
something about the Open Space approach, even in this modified form, made it
possible for them to make great contributions to the meeting without being
very disruptive.  It seems that daring and creative people often end up being
loners because they don't like to be controlled or controlling, and Open
Space gives them opportunities to work with a group that responds to their

Lots of opportunities and activities have emerged from the last OSE on
"Building for Sustainable Living," too many to describe here.  I am just
about to begin planning a larger OSE on Green Building for later this summer.

So I guess the upshot of all this is what you already know, that Open Space
works, its exciting.
Enjoy it!

Todd Saddler

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