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

Harrison Owen hhowen at verizon.net
Wed Jan 23 05:00:02 PST 2013

Tricia – By all means, jump in the pool. The water is fine! And it seems to me that you are making life much too complicated. Two days in Open Space with a theme of something like: “Building our collective competence: Issues and Opportunities” would probably allow the group to achieve all its objectives and more. No need for separate themes on the several days, that just adds to the noise in the air. In NYC we did in fact “open the space” three different times, but that was only to allow as many people as possible to assume the role (or part of the role) of facilitator. So if your client is up for it, just open the space and keep going. Actually I would try for 2.5 days with the final day focused on actions for the future. The details on how to do all this are pretty clear in the book, I think. Just make it simple and the Folks will do what they need to do. It always happens.




Harrison Owen

7808 River Falls Dr.

Potomac, MD 20854



189 Beaucaire Ave. (summer)

Camden, Maine 04843


Phone 301-365-2093

(summer)  207-763-3261



www.ho-image.com (Personal Website)

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From: oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Tricia Chirumbole
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 3:00 PM
To: oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Subject: [OSList] Incorporating self-organized training/learning sessions into OST AND communicating OST to an uninitiated and distracted leadership


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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