[OSList] [OSLIST}; The OST Theme...frame as a question?

Harrison Owen hhowen at verizon.net
Mon Mar 24 06:05:05 PDT 2014

Dan - as with everything else in life, "context" is all. It is true that the
"theme" for the USWEST Open Space looks like a statement - but for all the
folks out there in those times it was the biggest question they faced as an
organization, and everybody knew it. Their organization was broken, and THE
QUESTION was How to fix it???? When we started nobody knew, which can
plainly see reflected in the faces of the folks in the opening circle (see
OS video). From where I sit, questions are not only important, but critical.
Questions open space, I think.




Harrison Owen

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From: oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org
[mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Mezick
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 7:06 AM
To: oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Subject: [OSList] [OSLIST}; The OST Theme...frame as a question?


Is the OST theme always defined as a question? Is it ever offered as a
statement? I'm not sure.

I'm not sure because in the USERS GUIDE TO OPEN SPACE book from Harrison,
the story about the theme "Fixing Arizona" is not a question. So, I'm
guessing a non-question is OK. For the record, I prefer a question. And I
tell clients to frame it as a question, on the hypothesis that questions
tend open space and statements tend to close space...

THE BRIEF USERS GUIDE (http://www.openspaceworld.com/users_guide.htm) is
silent on the issue:

THE THEME -- Creation of a powerful theme statement is critical, for it will
be the central mechanism for focusing discussion and inspiring
participation. The theme statement, however, cannot be a lengthy, dry,
recitation of goals and objectives. It must have the capacity to inspire
participation by being specific enough to indicate the direction, while
possessing sufficient openness to allow for the imagination of the group to
take over.

There is no pat formulation for doing this, for what inspires one group will
totally turn off another. One way of thinking about the theme statement is
as the opening paragraph of a truly exciting story. The reader should have
enough detail to know where the tale is headed and what some of the possible
adventures are likely to be. But "telling all" in the beginning will make it
quite unlikely that the reader will proceed. After all, who would read a
story they already know?



Daniel Mezick, President

New Technology Solutions Inc.

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