[OSList] Open Space for my own team

Michael M Pannwitz via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Wed Nov 19 08:35:16 PST 2014

Dear Agnieszka,

for decades I have practiced the exchange of "rain checks" (kupon, 
Gutschein, كوبون, buono, купон,..) exactly for situations as the one you 

If someone wants me to be a facilitator for a situation they cant afford 
to pay a fee for I ask them to pay me with a rain check. This means that 
I can draw on them in case I need a facilitator, so we exchange services 
without money flowing.

This, of course, also works for baby sitting, haircuts, back rubs, a 
translation, an editing job... you name it.

We also suggested this procedures to participants of trainings: Convene 
an Open Space in your business / team / neighborhood / school / NGO /etc 
and "hire" another participant from the training to be the 
facilitator... keep doing this for a while and you will be surprised 
about the kind of contracts some of us need (those with fees to buy 
groceries, send the kids to college, etc.).

If you offer not just the facilitation of the "event" but also ask the 
colleague to facilitate the prework (planning session) and the action 
planning and the Next Meeting, the whole enchilada, the colleague will 
get a chance to have a grand experience... and then you in return.

The other aspect you mention has already been discussed a bit by others 
on the list. My experience is that I cant really be totally present and 
utterly invisible for the facilitator role if I also have urgent issues 
and I find it impossible for me to dive into issues full throtle having 
my facilitation role in the back of my mind. So, I avoid it.

My longest experience in one and the same organisation has been my 10 
year stint in the German Agency Youth where I facilitated some 30 events 
in that decade. One of the regular events was the yearly retreat of 
everyone working in the office (about 35 people). After a while folks 
felt that they could run "internal" events in os by themselves. I 
supported their idea adding that I wanted to be part of the experiment 
in the role of visiting colleague giving them a feed back. As far as I 
could tell, it did go well. The two colleagues who did the facilitating 
and also had issues and the group as a whole processed this experience 
and decided not to repeat it.

In another organisation I used to be a member of, the berlin open space 
cooperative (boscop), we switched from one of us being the facilitator 
to all of us having a "silent" introduction. After setting up the venue 
together (chairs, signs, bulletin board, breakout spaces....)we gathered 
in the circle and starting moving into the open space everyone having 
the (silent) facilitation role... after 8 to 12 minutes folks started to 
announce and post issues. We had a standard agenda (times and 
activities) and it all went smoothly... after closure we had a feed back 
which resulted in a steady flow of adjustments.
In this case the members of boscop all were experienced os-workers and 
had experienced each other in the various roles typical for an os-event. 
So, the starting point was unique.

Greetings from Berlin and wishing you a productive open space in 
Szczecin and see you next year at the September WOSonOS in Poland

On 19.11.2014 08:58, Agnieszka Maja Wawrzyniak via OSList wrote:
> Hi All,
> I am to facilitate an Open Space for a team I am a part of and I really
> would like to participate, but as a facilitator, I know I shouldn't.
> We will probably not able to hire an external facilitator, so I'm tryng
> to work this out...
> Do you have similar experiences? Any ideas? Recommendations?
> Greets
> Agnieszka
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Michael M Pannwitz
Draisweg 1, 12209 Berlin, Germany
++49 - 30-772 8000

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