[OSList] Whistleblower and Transparency Conference… How Open Space could not be broken.

Suzanne Daigle sdaigle4 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 27 13:02:37 PST 2012

Kas, A terrific report...wow! Thanks for describing not only the event but
also your experience of it as a facilitator. You did an absolutely
stupendous job on the interview, so natural. The language just flowed and
it was great hearing the participants jump in with you to describe it too.

Nothing like 3rd party enthusiastic validation by others and the extra gift
was listening to the conversation between interviewer and interviewees
about the process itself and the different type of leadership it invites.
A bit like our conversation on the OS list -- with all its depths and
perspectives and this by participants who perhaps experienced Open Space
with you for the first time.

To our OS community I say this is really worth a listen, not just for Open
Space but for the Occupy event itself. I'll even promise a chuckle at
something I heard Kas say when she started talking about Open Space and
first mentioned Harrison. The interviewer set up this bit of humor with
what he said just before she spoke.


On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM, Kas Neteler <kasneteler at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi OS Listers,
> Recently I had the opportunity to facilitate an Open Space on
> whistleblowers and government transparency – a benefit for Bradley Manning
> – at University of California at Berkeley.
> The event began with a Friday night panel discussion followed by a sermon
> by Rev. Billy Talen (performance artist Rev./Church of Stop Shopping). The
> Open Space took place all day Saturday and Sunday. It was a mixed crowd of
> about 200 participants including many long-time activists & prominent
> whistleblowers like Daniel Elsberg (1971 Pentagon Papers), Ray McGovern
> (ex-CIA), Ann Wright (retired Army Colonel) ...and a whole bunch of young
> Occupy folks from the university. My favorite was a young man with a gas
> mask attached to his belt who wore an Anonymous mask throughout the day.
> At one point on Saturday the conference was threatened to be shut-down by
> the police. Apparently the Occupy Cal folks wanted to set up their tents on
> the front steps of the building in support of the conference -- not
> realizing this would impact and possibly shut down the conference. Long
> story short, the Open Space was "occupied" and a (Occupy-style) General
> Assembly broke out to discuss and find consensus. Yes as the facilitator I
> was breathing and holding space (without a paper bag -- thank you :-)...
> eventually everyone came to a consensus that the tents would be set up on
> the building's front lawn and not in front of the doors. We missed Session
> 3 of the day... but we were able to reconfigure the final time slots to
> accommodate all the topics.
> In addition to being "Occupied" there were O.S. Space Invaders -- luckily
> they invaded the session right before lunch, so I did nothing and let them
> go all the way through the lunch break. Half of the conference was meeting
> in this circle and from my perspective they just needed to keep going. They
> came to a natural conclusion and went onto the next sessions.
> For me it was an exhausting Day 1 and I went to bed that night at 8pm. I
> needed to rest, dream and reflect on facilitating Day 2. Sunday I woke up
> to my radio alarm clock (tuned to my local public radio station) announcing
> that "Last night Occupy Oakland marched to UC Berkeley to join Occupy Cal
> in support of a conference happening on the campus." ...yep, that would be
> "my" conference. I thought to myself (in the words of Harrison): What is
> one less thing I can do today to make this better?
> And that is what I practiced throughout the day -- in my humble opinion
> Sunday was one of the best OS days I have experienced.
> Here's the thing, no matter how whacky things got, I kept seeing Open
> Space working... participants were connecting, telling their stories,
> supporting each other and so on and so forth. Individuals were constantly
> coming up to me and confiding that they were getting a lot out of the
> conference. In the opening circle we share the principle of "Whatever
> happens is the only thing that could" -- on this occasion I would amend it
> to "Whatever happens needs to happen."
> If you would like to hear more about the conference, my client included me
> on a group interview about the event. You can listen to the podcast here:
> http://occupodcast.squarespace.com/episodes/2012/2/22/a-conversation-with-occupy-the-truth-un-conference-hosts-fro.htmlAt some point in this podcast I go into Open Space and try to do it justice
> :-)
> Well, that is the story for now. I look forward to what continues to come
> my way via OS. Next stop facilitating the OS on OS (San Fransisco) in March
> -- join us if you can.
> --> Kas
> --
> 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.
> <http://www.tofighthiv.org/site/TR/AIDSLIFECYCLE11/AIDSLifeCycleCenter?px=1168447&pg=personal&fr_id=1440>
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Suzanne Daigle
NuFocus Strategic Group
7159 Victoria Circle
University Park, FL 34201
FL 941-359-8877;
CT 203-722-2009
s.daigle at nufocusgroup.com
twitter @suzannedaigle
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