[OSList] What is Open Space?

Michael M Pannwitz via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Wed Jun 3 00:28:04 PDT 2015

Dear Harrison,
“Brief Essays” on “What is Open Space?” reminds me of the elevator
speeches that we did a few years ago... seems they turned up every now 
and then again, which is great.

Searching for Elevator Speeches in our OSLIST Archives (thanks Harold)
turned up a bunch of strings (or tunnels as Douglas also calls them), it
was Jeff Aitken in 2000 who suggested:

"Twenty five words or so, to be uttered into the ear of a person who 
would just love Open Space if they only knew about it. They say to you: 
"What is Open Space?"
You say to them:"

Here is my take:

"Open Space is the only process that focuses on expanding time and space 
for the force of selforganisation to do its thing. Although one can't 
predict specific outcomes, its always highly productive for whatever 
issue people want to attend to. Some of the inspiring side effects that 
are regularly noted are laughter, hard work which feels like play, 
surprising results and fascinating new questions."

Obviously, this is more than 25 words. Therefore I chose that slow 
elevator Florian Fischer suggested, adding that you find more slow 
elevators in small buildings than in high buildings... or better yet, 
enter a "Paternoster", see here
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternoster

which is a neat "endless"  elevator, a place where you can do your 
"elevator speech" in the pater noster style.

Greetings from Berlin

On 02.06.2015 23:24, Harrison via OSList wrote:
> Well done!  I did notice, however a certain “culture specific slant”
> -- When it came to talking about the impact of the Law of Two Feet,
> you mentioned that some people might just be off for a “cup of tea.”
> JOf course you did redeem yourself when describing the genesis of OS
> in the Coffee Break! However, I might fault you for no mention of
> “Two Martinis.” One might think that the only thing essential for a
> grand Open Space is multiple libations!
> Seriously – I loved what you have done. And it occasioned a thought –
> a notable experience in my increasingly senile condition.  We have
> always had a poetry contest (recently concluded). Perhaps now we
> should add a “Brief Essay Contest” on the subject of... “What is Open
> Space?”
> It is certainly true that Open Space (OST) is the “same” wherever it
>  happens on Planet Earth (Sit in a Circle, Create Bulletin Board,
> Open a Market Place, Go to Work). That has been true since the 4^th
> of July, 1985 when it all “began” in Monterey, California. Since then
> 300,000+ groups in 146 Countries have enjoyed the experience (just a
> rough estimate). But each one of the millions of people who sat in
> all those Circles, had a unique, individual experience – informed by
> their place in the world, their culture, traditions, occupations...
> etc.
> I have some friends who introduced OS to a group of Buddhist Monks in
>  Tibet. There are some wonderful pictures which are just like
> “always” – but the “signs on the wall” (4 Principles and The Law) are
> all in Tibetan. I have similar “pictures” (in my mind) of IBM
> executives, Microsoft Engineers,  Boeing folks, South Africans
> (immediately post apartheid)... It is all the same. It is all
> marvelously different.
> Would it not be wonderful to draw all that experience together in a
> series of “Brief Essays” on “What is Open Space?” Bringing it “all”
> together would boggle the mind. But just a sampling would be
> delicious...
> Just a thought. And Thank you for your contribution!
> Harrison
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>  *From:*OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] *On
> Behalf Of *Martin Grimshaw via OSList *Sent:* Tuesday, June 02, 2015
> 9:24 AM *To:* OSLIST *Subject:* [OSList] What is Open Space?
> Hi folks
> There's plenty of great material out there, and a few people have
> tried to write articles answering the question: What Is Open Space?
> When trawling the internet though, it can be hard to find a nice neat
>  answer, or one that fits the seeker's needs. So I decided to write a
>  piece in the hope of helping to answer that question for those in
> need, while adding my own flavour to the mix and generally adding to
> the resources out there. It is also really important when
> communicating with clients to have something to refer to that tries
> to sum it up, and points towards further resources.
> I might try to write another more succinct version sometime, but for
> now I hope you find this useful. Feedback very welcome, as well as
> suggestions for extra links in the 'further reading' bit at the end.
> If you like it, please share or use it to your heart's content.
> *http://caterfly.co.uk/what-is-open-space-post/*
> Warm regards
> Martin Grimshaw 07591 552420
> There's Better Ways Of Working <http://2bwow.org.uk> a Thriving
> Planet <http://ThrivingPlanet.org.uk> project. Twitter
> @ThrivingPlanet <http://twitter.com/ThrivingPlanet>@CaterflyOST
> <http://twitter.com/CaterflyOST> LinkedIn
> <http://www.linkedin.com/in/martingrimshawbrighton> Caterfly
> <http://www.caterfly.co.uk>: For smart, responsive and collaborative
> workplaces Follow our Art Of Work <http://2bwow.org.uk/artofwork/>
> and Smarter Working <http://caterfly.co.uk/the-buzz/> blogs
> /Tools For A Smarter Planet:/ Facilitation, organisational
> consultancy, training, support for start-ups
> Thriving Planet Community Interest Company is a 'Fair Shares' social
>  enterprise for personal, organisational and planetary wellbeing.
> *Early Bird Tickets open: *Shift: Why Isn't Organisational Change
> Happening? 21/7, Learn how to use Open Space to host participant-led
>  unConferences 12/6 & 21-22/8, Mindfulness for Smarter Living &
> Sociocracy for Dummies each 1 week, September, Greece ....
> http://2bwow.org.uk/workshops/
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Michael M Pannwitz
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