Chris Corrigan corcom at interchange.ubc.ca
Wed May 16 12:14:17 PDT 2001

I do a lot of OST meeting in community settings, and in community
centres and drop ins are always a possibility.  Usually I let the
sponsors know that this might happen and I encourage them to embrace the
idea.  One never knows what those drop ins might contribute.  in my
experience, people have never dropped in and tried to close the space.
Most people enter the space of and OST with some awe and if they are
thinking about exerting some control, they usually can't figure out a
way to do it.  Hiding the microphone is a good preventative measure.

Usually when these folks end up finding me and asking what's going on, I
encourage them to participate (if the sponsors are cool with that). If
they want to post a topic, I let them do that.  People check the
marketplace throughout an OST event, so topics which appear and
disappear are not uncommon.  Groups may form around issues that weren't
posted at the outset, but added later.  I have never seen any harm in
allowing a drop in to post a session.

One event I did for 250 people grappling with creating solutions for
major problems facing the urban Aboriginal community in Vancouver was
held in a Friendship centre, a sort of Aboriginal community centre.  It
so happened that they day of our OST event was also the day of the
installation of the new pool table in the Youth Drop In Centre.  As a
result there were 50 or so youth hanging around giving advice to the
pool table installation guys.  Every so often a small pack of them would
wander into the gym where we were meeting and fan out around the place
and participate in the groups.  Severl of these youth became notetakers,
and dilligently typed up discussion group reports before returning to
the informal 9-ball tournament that was underway.

Becasue we were working with issues of how to address the community's
problems, we welcomed the community in on it's own terms.  That meant
that some arrived at the beginning, and others dropped in.  The sponsors
were excited by the prospect of clients dropping in and so no-one was
discouraged from doing so.  The results were enriched by those folks.

Drop ins rarely have any trouble figuring out what is going on in Open
Space.  Sometimes I'll explain it to them. other times I won't.  If they
want to raise and issue I point them to the markers, the paper and the
wall and invite them to do so.


Consultation - Facilitation
Open Space Technology


108-1035 Pacific Street
Vancouver BC
V6E 4G7

Phone: 604.683.3080
Fax: 604.683.3036
corcom at interchange.ubc.ca

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