Self-organizing and the role of design

Peggy Holman peggy at
Thu May 31 13:00:15 PDT 2007

To another aspect of this subject...for the last several years, I have been working a lot with people who approach groups with a somewhat more traditional process design sensibility.  As I've immersed myself in these experiments(the Nexus for Change being the most visible), I'm coming to believe that much of the challenge/tension I experienced in these situations comes from a significant difference in philosophy about where we focus our design attention.  

Is it on creating a process to achieve some outcome?  I experience this as having an underlying assumption that we must channel or direct the energy towards the calling aspiration.  

Or, as in open space, is it on creating a rich, nutrient space in which stuff unfolds in the direction of the apsirations invoked by the call?  I experience the underlying assumption here as holding a belief that given the right conditions, the rest will take care of itself.

I'm struggling for language around this because putting it in the form of an either/or, as I just did, misses the boat.  What's the larger perspective that holds them both?  And how do we best work with these different assumptions?  

Part of my inquiry has to do with how we, in the Open Space community, play well with others.  Another part is that I think there's a key to this directive/participative/laissez-faire/self-organizing question and the changing role of leadership/facilitation as we shift from a Newtonian to a Nexustentialist* world view in our work.


*Nexustentialism - here's a stab at a preliminary definition:  practices which welcome and support the coming together of disparate/diverse threads such that something novel is made visible and named into existence as an emergent "center" for what wants to unfold.

Peggy Holman
The Open Circle Company
15347 SE 49th Place
Bellevue, WA  98006
(425) 746-6274

For the new edition of The Change Handbook, go to: 

"An angel told me that the only way to step into the fire and not get burnt, is to become 
the fire".
  -- Drew Dellinger

To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
view the archives of oslist at

To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the OSList mailing list