[OSList] brainstorming and open space

Kas Neteler kasneteler at gmail.com
Sat Feb 4 09:01:49 PST 2012

Dear Kerry,

I'm not sure if this is a start of a thread or if I am missing some
critical info. I want to offer you a different perspective.

I have seen and heard of too many badly designed brainstorm sessions that
end just as you have described: a group of people not ready to take
responsibility for what they "created". What I often see is that the
process butchered -- leaving the group without the proper tools to create
and implement strategy. Crucial steps are missing to take a group from
brainstorming to strategy to implementation. I suggest you are missing
valuable steps between brainstorming and voting.

Before you bring brainstorming out of the tool kit -- ask, why are we doing
this? If the WHY is that you need divergent thinking then we can move
forward. This is similar to selecting Open Space as a technique -- first
ask WHY are we doing this and if its the proper fit move forward.

WHAT is brainstorming but idea generation of raw data around a specific
goal. That's it... it's opening a space, stating your goal, and allowing a
flood of ideas to come forward (no one should feel they need to take
responsibility at this time -- you want to avoid barriers to innovation).
It's best accomplished with a diverse set of stakeholders. Like OS where
the right people will attend (and invitation is key!!!) -- this takes
similar effort to make sure the different perspectives of the group are in
the room AND if not, that role playing helps to bring those ideas forward.

I will hold back on describing actual brainstorm techniques -- this is
something I can seriously geek out over (feel free to contact me directly)
and really depends on creating the appropriate method for each group.

No matter what version of brainstorming happens the end result is raw data.
The next steps are super critical: stepping back looking for emerging
patterns and organizing to see what the picture is once you take into
account the group's resources vs. the impact. Taking time to reflect and
synthesize -- going back if anything is missing. Like OS -- finding those
in the room who are passionate enough to champion ideas. Now you have
enough info to sketch out the group's strategy and formulate an actionable

I am drawn to both brainstorming and Open Space for their similar
qualities: getting folks together to be free to discuss, ask questions, be
heard, listen intently, reflect ... and ultimately come away with a sense
of connection to the project at hand and more importantly each other.

Best of luck with your endeavors.

--> Kas
Emeryville, USA

On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 4:03 PM, Kerry Napuk <knapuk at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Harrison
> For me brainstorming is a waste of time, because nobody takes ownership or
> responsibility for what they blurt out.  In Open Futures we used a giant
> mind map and then voted on priorities of items proposed by up to 60
> participants.
> Open Space runs on passion and responsibility, two vital things I would
> never accuse brainstormers of.
> Cheers
> Kerry
> Edinburgh
> _______________________________________________
> OSList mailing list
> To post send emails to OSList at lists.openspacetech.org
> To unsubscribe send an email to OSList-leave at lists.openspacetech.org
> To subscribe or manage your subscription click below:
> http://lists.openspacetech.org/listinfo.cgi/oslist-openspacetech.org

Kas Neteler
MBA, Sustainable Enterprise
kasneteler at gmail.com

I'm cycling from SF to LA June 3 - 9, 2012 to help end AIDS. Click to
donate and learn more about my journey.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openspacetech.org/pipermail/oslist-openspacetech.org/attachments/20120204/a3f99f8b/attachment-0008.htm>

More information about the OSList mailing list