[OSList] First open space, advices needed :)

Anne-Béatrice Duparc via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Fri Jan 9 15:39:58 PST 2015

A bow to you dear OS fellows as I prepare to open space for the first time :)   

     On Monday, January 5, 2015 4:34 PM, Tova Averbuch <tova.averbuch at gmail.com> wrote:

Thank you so much Chris. This is so beautiful and Crystal clearTova נשלח מה-iPhone שלי
ב-Jan 4, 2015, בשעה 23:21, Chris Corrigan via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> כתב/ה:

All good things from people named John!
My friend Toke Moeller often shares the insight that “purpose is the invisible leader” and I share that too.  Purpose can be stated and unstated, and like everything in the realm of complexity, is always changing. 
In order for emergence to happen, it happens within boundaries, and that includes the emergence that later comes to redefine boundaries. My point earlier was that stated purposes can help a great deal AND you need to leave space for the possibility that any way you state it or understand, there is always a high chance that your purpose itself may not serve, or may be at odds with a different, hidden and often more powerful purpose.  
This gets summed by my other friend Tim Merry who says “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  This means that no matter how clever you are or how articulate you are about purpose, goals and intentions, if you are opening space, culture will show up, and it is sometimes the more powerful purpose.  
This is why holding space is often terrifying.

On Jan 4, 2015, at 12:40 PM, John Watkins <johnw536 at mac.com> wrote:
My experience is that open spaces (and open systems) are "purpose-seeking" systems, and getting clarity through emergence about purpose is probably one of the most important aspects of people opening space together.  Purpose is dynamic and powerfully grounding in a sense of essence or the being-ness of the emergent group; it's like a strange attractor for the emergence of meaning and aligned action.  Goals, on the other hand, are inert and static; they tend to shut down rather than open up space.  If you set goals before you gather together and make meaning, often all they do is reinforce the "limitations that we mistake for our goals," to cite one of my teachers.  We end up with what we started with, not something with new potential and power.  Goals can be helpful, though I prefer to think about intentions and aspirations and what I want to accomplish instead.  So, I would go for purpose first, and use goals only as a crutch (this is a good purpose for them, BTW), or even, retrospectively, once purpose and meaning and intention and aligned actions are envisioned and something has been accomplished.
John Watkins
On Jan 4, 2015, at 2:37 AM, John Baxter via OSList wrote:

I feel Chris like we have seemingly conflicting suggestions, but might be talking about different things.
Reading about games recently (McGonigal's Reality is Broken) got me thinking about goals.  And specifically, how goals are different from purpose.
Don't know whether this will help but here goes.  I am only just thinking this through so it is not well tested.
Goals are an element of a good game.  They are almost part of the rules of the game, like an agreement - something that we buy in to as part of participation.
The most productive spaces I have been part of have had a clear goal for that space (that is understood and agreed to by all).
I haven't used the word 'goal' to describe this before and maybe it is not the best one, but it feels right to me to use a different word than 'purpose' which always seem in reality to be impossible to pin down.  I am always aware that there is a broad web of different intents and purposes and ideas that no individual will ever compute (even just those within themselves, let alone others!), that will always be fuzzy.
Personally, having a solid 'goal' for a space is a fundamental part of holding that space, any space.  It need not be written down, but I need to feel it, and ideally it is as transparent as possible in the invitation and for participants (part of the social contract of participation).

John BaxterCocreation Consultant & ​Co​Create Adelaide Facilitatorjsbaxter.com.au | CoCreateADL.com0405 447 829​ | ​@jsbaxter_
Thank you to everyone who came, helped or spread the good word about City Grill!Summary and links: cocreateadl.com/localgov/grill-summary/

On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 6:46 AM, Chris Corrigan via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:

Sometimes though, fuzzy purpose is really really useful.  I’ve had situations where a group is really sure of what it is doing, and what it exists for and yet nothing is working.  
This happens a lot with mainline churches these days, many of whom are certain that they can recreate the “success” they had in the 1960s.  They are certainly clear on their purpose, but the harder they try, the worse they make it for themselves.  
And so we have run OST meetings where the purpose was unclear and fuzzy and people simply proposed topics that interested them.  And it turns out that that is a good way to discover the new directions you are trying to get into.  Of course all groups need a boundary, and in the case that immediately comes to mind, the question was “What else can we be?” 
People felt that was too fuzzy to get any kind of strategic work done, but what happened was that it invited people into a now three year journey of wayfinding together.  Which, it turns out, is a good purpose for a church.
I think it’s not my job to “help people discover what they should be doing” even in Open Space.  I can, however, help hold space so that people can explore the fuzziness and confusion that they find themselves in AND I can model behaviour of not needing to know, of avoiding premature convergence of ideas and purpose, so that the innovation and wisdom and leadership at the margins can come forward.  
In the parlance of software developers, not knowing what to do is a feature of living in this world, not a bug.

On Jan 3, 2015, at 2:00 AM, Anne-Béatrice Duparc via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
I love how you put it in words John. I will discuss it today with the caller. Indeed there is much that seems already prepared and "shoulds". I hope I can help them let go of it. 
Thanks for the reminder,

Message: 3
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:56:24 +1030
From: John Baxter via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org>
To: Gail West <icataiw at gmail.com>, World wide Open Space Technology
    email list    <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org>
Subject: Re: [OSList] First open space, advices needed :)
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If you can help the group to become clear about what the most important
focus/challenge/question is for them *now*, then they will be able to let
go of all those preconceived discussion topics in order to address their
If the purpose is fuzzy then all people have to go on is their baggage and
prepared ideas.  This makes it hard for people to embrace the space, and
they are likely to walk away disappointed (though they may still get a lot

Overall, it will be useful to help people find what they really want to *do*,
vs what they think they should *talk about*.  I don't really know how to
describe this better, nor how you should do it.  But it might help.


*John Baxter*
*Cocreation Consultant & ?Co?Create Adelaide Facilitator*
jsbaxter.com.au <http://www.jsbaxter.com.au/> | CoCreateADL.com
0405 447 829
? | ?
@jsbaxter_ <http://twitter.com/jsbaxter_>
 Anne-Béatrice Duparc
Comité de BIEN-Suisse Initiative fédérale pour un revenu de base
Génération RBI www.rbi-oui.ch
Association Solid'Art 

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