[OSList] Sharing Our Best Recommendations with Each Other

Michael M Pannwitz mmpannwitz at gmail.com
Fri May 16 22:00:07 PDT 2014

Dear Lucas,

I enjoy sharing questions.

To questions I take off my hat, or not being in the habit of wearing 
one, take a bow.

Deep bows to those questions that get me to think/reflect/ponder
on what I do as facilitator, this being one of my favorite activities.

"Best ways" of doing something falls into my basket I call "answers". 
Something I often trap myself to do, answering (sigh!).
This has nothing to do with honoring a question.

What I like are stories about experiences and the questions and stories 
arising from them (not recommendations or best ways). There are zillions 
of such stories on this LIST as you pointed out.

When I ran into your example "ways to empower participants" I smiled and 
at the same time lit all those warning lamps... and remembered this 
story from about a decade ago:

In a Next Meeting two months after a three day OST gathering with about 
150 participants I arranged the chairs in a half circle so that everyone 
of the 40 folks that showed up to share what had been done since the OST 
event and what the next steps would be was able to participate in and 
follow the visualisation of their work.
After the welcome by the sponsor I stood up, introduced the agenda and, 
after getting agreement from the group to proceed according to the 
agenda, began with the question:
"Thinking back on your event two months ago, what comes back to your 
mind? At the beginning of this Next Meeting you are invited to share any 
memories you want to offer."
After that, while folks were gathering in break out sessions or 
gathering at the buffet one participant came up to me and said:
"When you stood up at the beginning and asked us to think back on our 
event two months ago and to share something with the group I saw myself 
back in school with the teacher standing up front... and I decided to 
say anything."

Since then, I always start Next Meetings with everyone sitting in a 
circle (!!!), me included. After the part on recalling impressions from 
the OST event, I ask the participants to rearrange the chairs in a half 
circle so that everyone can comfortably walk up to the visualisation of 
what the group is working on.

That practice has worked well.

Is it "best" practice? Perhaps it was "my" best practice at that time. 
It does, from my point of view, qualify as a praxis tested practice. 
That, of course, does not generally make it "best practice", whatever 
that might mean.

My recurrent questions since that experience have increasingly been:

"How do I get into a mode of being unattached to outcome?"
"Which are the conditions under which the force of selforganisation can 
do its stuff?"
"Which of these conditions can I as facilitator influence?"
"How do I get into the mode of being fully present and utterly invisible?"

And I hope to make it to the next WOSonOS in Belgrade in September to 
get close (again) to those story tellers that populate OSLIST to share 
stories and questions and stories that are elicited by those questions.

Greetings from Berlin

On 16.05.2014 23:14, Lucas Cioffi wrote:
> Hi All,
> I'm quite excited to bring this topic up and I'm hoping there are a few
> like-minded souls willing to explore this direction with me.
> *The Goal:* /complement rather than replace this discussion list with a
> searchable knowledge repository, consisting of stories and recommendations/
> /
> /
> *What: *I'm building a tool which can help us share stories and
> recommendations with each other in an efficient way.  I would like to
> put it to work in service of the OS community.  When I floated this idea
> on this discussion list a few months ago, I got some great feedback.
>   Some people see the potential for how we can better archive the
> stories and insights that we are already sharing on this list.
> *Why: *Every one of us probably has at least a few quick & useful
> insights about OST and facilitation each month (that ends up being
> thousands of insights per month!), yet we are collectively sharing only
> a small fraction of all those insights.  On a practical level, if
> someone is planning an open space event and faced with a particular
> challenge, they could perform a quick search on the knowledge repository
> to see who has dealt with this in the past.  After holding their event,
> they can add their insights for what worked and didn't work for them.
> *How:* The tool is called Bark!Best and it can do some fun things.  At
> the simplest level, it is a way to share questions and answers and to
> make those answers easy to find.  Most interactions happen like this--
> people sharing short recommendations in text form.  At a more advanced
> level, it is similar to a 24/7 online open space; it lets participants
> take any question and post it as a video-chat session at any time of the
> day.
> *Getting Started*
> I took a few first steps.  Harrison gave me permission to go through the
> full text of the User Guide; I extracted 160+ recommendations and their
> respective 270+ supporting reasons, organizing and posting them all here
> in a Q&A format: http://www.barkbest.com/openspace
> Those quotes from the User Guide are just a starting point for all of us
> to build upon. */Think of a living book that is written and updated by
> all of us, all the time-- what an amazing body of knowledge that could
> be. /* For example, the User Guide describes two "ways to empower
> participants <http://barkbest.com/s/DuQLY>"; as a group, we might be
> able to think of a dozen more based on all our experiences.
> *Next Steps*
>   * Some of you might have some exciting ideas for what might be
>     possible here.  Please, please, please reach out to me or to
>     everyone on this list.
>   * It would be absolutely amazing to work with a few folks who would
>     donate a few hours of their time to go through some of the most
>     fruitful parts of the archive, to harvest insights and copy them
>     into the knowledge repository.
> *Respect & Caution*
> Having been on this list for five years, I respect and honor that this
> discussion list has been going a very long time before I got here.  I
> recognize that I cannot succeed without a few other people who are
> willing to take the lead and guide this project so that it meets the
> actual needs of this community.  I hope you'll join me!
> --
> Lucas Cioffi
> Co-Founder, Bark!Best
> NCDD Board Member, 2011-2013
> Charlottesville, VA
> 917-528-1831
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Michael M Pannwitz
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