[OSList] Renewing the Mission of the Open Space Institute U.S.

Harrison Owen via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Tue Jul 19 11:36:53 PDT 2016

Harold, I take your point … but it does occur to me that We (whoever “we” is) are OSI – so we are just doing our “job.” J




From: OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Harold Shinsato via OSList
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 2:07 PM
To: Chris Corrigan; paul levy; World wide Open Space Technology email list
Subject: Re: [OSList] Renewing the Mission of the Open Space Institute U.S.


Hi Chris,

Since the thread is about helping the OSI-US find "mission questions", rather than answering the questions, I would encourage and invite you to reflect on these questions in separate threads to make the reflections easier to see and connect with via the subject line.

I look forward to your reflections!


On 7/19/16 11:13 AM, Chris Corrigan wrote:

I like your questions Paul. They’re interesting! Can I add some reflections on them?  


On Jul 19, 2016, at 7:06 AM, paul levy via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:




 A few more questions ...


Warm wishes 





Why are we still calling OST a technology ?


Still called a technology because it’s cheeky.  That’s my take anyway.



Why is the LAW of two feel a law ?


Law because, like the law of gravity it seems to be fundamentally inviolable. So it’s helpful to acknowledge it.  You could probably acknowledge the law of gravity too, if you wanted to remind people not to drop their stuff. But at least acknowledging the law of mobility helps people understand why folks wander off during sessions.


If the "principles" are not prescriptions but descriptions why are they called principles ?



Principles don’t have to be prescriptive to be principles.  These four principles seem to capture four things (or five) that work about open space.  They are provocative and interesting and disruptive to normal meeting procedures.  And I have done many Open Space meetings without talking about them at all. 

How can it possibly take 2 days to "teach"

OST and why would anyone ever want to teach it anyway ?



It doesn’t take two days to “teach" Open Space Technology.  But to spend two days with other practitioners who are learning, thinking about, and trading ideas on using OST seems to accelerate people’s practice and use of the process and the underlying view of the world that it encapsulates.


Open Space Technology is not “teacheable” but it is learnable.  How’s that for a provocative proposition?

Why do OST "elders" on the OS list keep advocating dogmatic views about OST? (Oh yes you do)



Who are these “elders" of which you speak?


What if one less thing to do was facilitation ?




How could OSI begin a humble inquiry into new and valuable ways of opening space? And learn from them ?


This is a really great question.  Juanita Brown has convened a conversation on “the central garden” of participatory methods that is just such a humble inquiry. So humble that it has been approached slowly and quietly, and I’m sure she would welcome many others joining.  She’s been at it for a while: http://www.theworldcafe.com/more-from-juanita-brown/

What questions do we need to ask that cannot be formed into latinised words and phrases ?


This one:




Where is open space technology when the world needs to open space most - right now ?



It is right here where it has always been.   And I think there is a lot of space being opened in the world right now, in all kinds of ways. 


Opening space is not a guarantee of peace and good times. When space opens so too does authentic human voice. People that have been silent claim sound. People that have been displaced look for a new home. People that have been backed into corners clamp down on control and fear.  Does the world need open space most now? Or has open space given us the world we live in now?


We have no guarantee of safety in this world. And when space open for some, others who didn’t ever realize they were taking up so much, suddenly start getting quite worried.  It’s nice to imagine the tables being turned over, unless one of the tables is mine.  






Harold Shinsato
harold at shinsato.com
twitter: @hajush <http://twitter.com/hajush> 

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