[OSList] A Question About Safety

R Chaffe rchaffe at gmail.com
Mon Aug 20 22:39:44 PDT 2018

Good question!
The stimulus to change is a critical component of the process.  Why change or why do anything if we do not have to do something.  The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” or we could say the rate of change including adaption is directly proportional to the forces that initiated change.  Strong forces strong response.

The implication is that the situation may be too comfortable “safe”. It may be that it needs to be “safe” in order to get considered ideas from all at all levels.  If we use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we conclude that a safe environment for meeting including the freedom of assembly (the law of mobility) is essential.

Conclusion we may raise difficult or unsafe issues as questions while we provide a safe open space for conversation and decision making.  We must feel we can contribute without fear or favour and we must feel free to contribute this in itself my be a definition of safety. My experience would say we need a safe place to deal with differences of opinion. 

In an emergency or incident control centre it is vital to have places where the staff can “retreat” from the hustle  and bustle of the emergency to regroup and deal with the current issues and opportunities. A safe place to deal with very unsafe situations.  It is the unsafe situations that bring the “experts” (community of concern) together, the more uncertain or unsafe the higher the levels of energy and drive.  It is therefore true to say the “safer” or lowest threat would generate an equally low level of response.  Too safe, too comfortable and less interest.

Peter Sandman talks about hazard being a factor of outrage and risk  where he states that we need a balanced level of both before we can discuss critical questions effectively.  Outrage with no risk no hazard, high risk but no outrage no hazard.  It is concluded that Peter says we need some discomfort or outrage before we are stimulated to engage with an issue, we can be too comfortable, complacent and so safe.


> On 21 Aug 2018, at 2:49 pm, David Osborne via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
> Greetings all, 
> I have questions about safety related to self-organization I would love others thoughts on. 
> Is it possible for an environment can be too safe to support self-organization? Can safety be at such a high level that it inhibits or slows down the self-organizing process?
> I'm very interested to hear others perspectives.
> Best to all,
> David
> David R. Osborne
> Organization and Leadership Development
> <CF_Logo_Full_3.png>
> 6402 Arlington Blvd., Suite 1120, Falls Church, VA 22042 
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