[OSList] Incorporating self-organized training/learning sessions into OST AND communicating OST to an uninitiated and distracted leadership

Lisa Heft lisaheft at openingspace.net
Tue Jan 22 12:35:49 PST 2013

Welcome Tricia!
The 'uninitiated' part of your title does not worry me. Everyone has a  
first time, and Open Space is one of those processes for which  
participants need no prior experience.
It is the 'distracted leadership' part of the title I am curious about.
Can you share more with us about that?
(and no matter how wonderful a process - how what comes of this event  
- relationships, ideas, and so on) will be supported by leadership  

Otherwise, it is sometimes good to make the topic / reason for the  
meeting a bit different so it connects more with personal efficacy /  
productivity / leadership rather than something that would need a bit  
of focused leadership from the top. In other words, meeting an  
organization where it is - rather than where you hope it to be. I am  
curious about your thoughts about that.

Also: in my experience - the less objectives / tasks, the better - the  
less 'intervention' of adding another task or question mid-stream -  
creates the greater opportunity for participant discussions to engage  
on deeper and deeper levels over the time span of the meeting.
Although I have on occasion begun a Day 2 with another related  
question (theme), I have wondered if that was because of my wish for  
the group to progress there rather than my being exactly where they  


On Jan 22, 2013, at 12:00 PM, Tricia Chirumbole wrote:

> Hello all!
> I am an OST newbie who is hoping to facilitate an Open Space for my  
> main client's annual meeting in a few weeks and I would like to get  
> your thoughts on incorporating hands on skill transfer into an Open  
> Space. I did do some book reading on OST and just attended the OST  
> meeting in NYC this weekend, but have never hosted an Open Space.
> Background on organization and situation:
> I do not provide facilitation for this organization. I am one of a  
> number of project managers who work on teams to conduct market  
> research and strategy consulting projects for their clients in the  
> life sciences arena.
> They have agreed to my participation in the facilitation of the  
> meetings and I have referenced OST, but we have not yet discussed  
> details on meeting design and I am pretty sure they are not familiar  
> with OST.
> This meeting will be a small group of only the US folks - 14 in  
> total. We will be meeting for 2.5 days. On an ongoing basis, we are  
> all remote workers across the US and in Europe and Japan and only  
> see each other when we travel to a client's location.
> The general theme identified is "collaboration and learning from one  
> another". The stated intent, so far, was to have us all take turns  
> teaching something to the group where we are the "expert", then to  
> spend time just working in parallel and helping each other on  
> current projects or generating learning moments.
> I am encouraging shifting the focus from trying to model  
> collaboration and getting all of our trainings under our belts in  
> 2.5 days, to a focus on developing a system for ongoing  
> collaboration and expertise sharing, to include discussions of where  
> learning and teaching opportunities exist. I think this topic would  
> be great for an Open Space.
> I was thinking we could combine opportunities for hands on learning  
> with discussion of an ongoing structure by having two sessions  
> (maybe 1.5 days overall).
> My thoughts for day 1 and day 2 "prompts"
> 1) Sharing expertise and leveraging strengths across the organization
> 2) What do we need right now for high performance individually and  
> organizationally? Training, support, etc.
> My main question is, in the second prompt - "what do we need right  
> now" - could we frame this as an opportunity for hands on learning  
> where the sessions were either suggested by learners who knew of  
> something specific that they wanted to learn, or not specific I  
> guess, as well as by teachers, who felt that they had areas of  
> expertise to share?
> We would all then self-organize and convene into sessions where we  
> are not just discussing topics/structures/etc, but we are actually  
> engaging in information and skill transfer.
> Question 2: Also not sure which prompt should come first.
> I don't know yet if I will get them to buy into the Open Space  
> process or if I do, if I can get the time for 2 prompts, BUT, I  
> wanted to ask thoughts of the group before crafting my next  
> communication with them.
> Thank you sooooooo much for reading through this long question and  
> for any insights provided!
> -- 
> Tricia Chirumbole
> US: +1-571-232-0942
> Skype: tricia.chirumbole
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