[OSList] What is y/our biggest vision for OST ?

Harrison Owen hhowen at verizon.net
Thu Mar 1 09:00:15 PST 2018

Improved Open Space! Marvelous idea!! And should you (or anybody else) succeed, I will be the first supporter and largest fan. I will warn you, however, that you will not be the first to make such an attempt. I think that might have been me. 

After I recovered from the two Martinis, and indeed three or four years after the first Open Space in Monterey California (1985), I recognized that something truly odd and wonderful was happening in that circle. Actually I was a slow learner, and it took the sharp eyes of people like Anne Stadler, Mahesh, and others to see what I couldn't see.

After a bit, there was something of a blinding flash of the obvious. What happened was not only unpredictable, but totally remarkable. At least we all thought it was pretty weird. And back in those days, weird was good. So how about More Weird? Better Weird? Or just better, and not so weird??

It was a pretty heady time. David Cooperrider was appreciating, Marv was searching the future, various people were in Quality Circles, and not far down the road was Process Re-engineering. Lots to play with, and many wonderful playmates -- not to exclude "Searching for Excellence" and "Future Shock!"

We did not do a lot of OS's -- at least by contemporary standards. But each was an experiment. Lots of folks suggested adding or changing a bit. My instantaneous response was "Try it." The experimentation was considerable -- but sometimes embarrassing... for me. For example.

A very large Canadian financial institution was doing a two day OS for the purposes of charting their future. 250 folks including the senior staff and rising stars. And -- to hedge their bet "the powers" contracted with a friend who did "creativity enhancement" for a day's work shop up front. They used drums and song...the day was gorgeous! Then we opened space. Massive, powerful, productive. 

When it was all over, "The Powers that Be" asked me what I thought. I had to bite my tongue. But the folks involved were quick to the point. To a person they say, "The Three days were gorgeous -- but why did we waste the first day?" Their words, my friend. I was embarrassed.

That has been my story ever since. Embarrassed. 

I had been taught, practiced, and been honored for all of the things that "modern management" was supposed to do. My training was usually informal (serious folks telling me how) but my positions were "recognized (check out whatever Who's Who)." Open Space Technology was/is the embarrassment of my life. Every single principle or practice that I "learned" was violated. I really had a hard time keeping a straight face talking to my friends/colleagues.

So to your question. If you want to learn how to "do" OST -- stay home. If you want some new trick of the trade -- don't go out the door.

HOWEVER -- in 30+ year of failure, I have learned one thing. Less is more. We already "know" how to do OS -- been doing it for 13.7 billion years. What we need to work on is putting to one side all that we think/taught works. Hard job. But possible. 

I call it "being there authentically." Martin H. might call it "Dasein." Call it what you like, but it is worth a trip. 

I'm going to try. Will you?


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-----Original Message-----
From: OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Marai Kiele via OSList
Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2018 6:33 AM
To: ost list international
Cc: Marai Kiele
Subject: [OSList] What is y/our biggest vision for OST ?

Dear colleagues,

Are you interested in fresh thinking regarding OST?
Are you interested in making it better?

I recently participated in the WOSonOS planning meeting and ever since I’ve been wondering: 
What could make me eager to go to Iceland?

Right now, I am not eager. Yet. 

I have already been to three WOSonOS (2003 in Svenmark, 2005 in Canada, 2010 in Berlin) and several OSonOS. 
I don’t need another OST just to share some practices, experiences, stories.
Just to see old friends (while I love meeting old friends!). Just to make new friends (while I love making new friends!).

But none of this evokes the desire to go to Iceland for WOSonOS from me.
How about you? 

So I’ve been contemplating: 
What would I need to happen there, so that I create the money and time to go? 
What would need to have evolved, so that afterwards I will celebrate having been there?

Today I listened to a podcast by Seth Godin, who I appreciate for his honest and brilliant approach to marketing.
Regarding the grandest possible vision for OST I invite you to listen to 1 minute:

	Stopp what is playing automatically 
	Scroll down to the episodes and start „The Grand Opening"
	Listen to 10:57 - 11:58

Please take 1,5 minutes, listen first, than continue reading. Thank you.


So referring to what he shared and applying it to OST:

Can OST actually be made better?
I know there is a strong perspective of every change = making it worse.
I once thought that way. Not anymore.

What if there actually were many things to make it better? 
Be it in the format, the marketing, how it is integrated into business…

So that we relax and trust that… slowly and naturally… some day soon… everyone is going to know about it?
And what could this year's WOSonOS have to do with it?

Just wondering…

Any thoughts, feelings, further questions?

PS - some of you may remember me:
I am located in Germany, back on this list after many years of absence. I was pretty active in this community starting in 2003… Left several years ago. 
One: I wasn’t learning as intensely as before and had a sense that the space for fresh thinking was closing. 
Two: Other topics captured my passion, including the Genuine Contact approach - which integrates OST and made it better ;-) - so I believe...

With curiosity to explore together,


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