[OSList] the oracle's musings

Kerry Napuk knapuk at gmail.com
Thu Feb 23 14:27:50 PST 2012

Hi Harrison

Enjoyed your analogy of teaching someone to fish in lieu of handing them a
fish.  It certainly is applicable to the failures of traditional foreign

Yeah, Open Space is easy.  I facilitated my first group with 175 people in
an old tram works in Glasgow for the entire theatre sector of Scotland.  My
training was reading your Handbook and a weekend course in OD.  But, like
most simple things, you can spend your life working on it.  So, simple it
is, but practising and perfecting it is an art.

I now have done over 100 events with a bit more than 7,000 participants and
I still am amazed at large group energy and dynamics.  It sure beats
facilitating top teams in organisations who, agree a vision and strategy,
then watch it fail when they try to cascade it downwards.  Nobody buys in,
because they were not a part of its creation.

It is far easier to get the whole system in one room and let people commit
at the point of participation.  After all, what more can you ask than an
organisation creating the space where people totally equal contribute and
participate on a level field.  Nobody is in control and nobody can
influence outcomes.  So, there can be no stacked deck or hidden agendas.

That is yet another thing so brilliant about Open Space, you can seed the
field with grass and players far faster than any other large group
process.  Flexibility is the hallmark of Open Space, along with its
complete bottom up self organisation driven by motivation and action
through *passion *(care enough about something to stand up in front of
everyone with your burning issue) *and responsibility* (care enough to lead
a group and do something about your passion.)

Simple it is, but you can spend a life time working on it.  In this
respect, Open Space has a Zen like quality.  Practise, practise, polish,

So, thank you Harrison for your laziness and penchant for martinis.  You
have done well.  And we all can attest to your generosity as David Osborne
discovered.  You gave your creation to the world without strings and
without royalties.  Bravo!


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