Blog > What are we noticing about open space?

July 26, 2008

Chris Corrigan hosted a session today about our biggest ah-ha! moments around open space. There were some great quotes as we warmed up to the topic:


Web 2.0 is relationship technology. IT is being replaced by RT (Chris Corrigan) and Content is the means; community is the ends (Peggy Holman)



The focus of the sessions seemed to coalesce around the question of how our learning was changing our practice. I captured the diverse thoughts of the group using a wave metaphor that I’ve used often with groups to explore the shifting ground – and I guess it’s particularly apt considering Harrison Owen’s use of the wave metaphor the other night.

Briefly, it consists of analysing changes around established norms (on the crest of the wave), emerging trends (where the wave is developing), dying practices (where the wave expires on the shore) and new edges (where the wave is still developing way out on the horizon).

So here’s my take on the discussion using this framework (in no particular order)

Established Norms

The circle and meeting in a circle; naming the intention; welcoming disturbance; being in relationship with each other; we’re no longer passive consumers of media any more; technology allows for real-time course correction; OST not so risky any more.

Emerging Trends

Using the principles and language of OST in business; building internal capacity with OST; connection to passion; tuning and adapting mechanisms as an organisational metaphor; Wikipaedia as a metaphor for OST; people are willing to play at a higher level and take more risks;bearing fair witness; willingness to embrace messiness; we value what happens at the marging; organisations unable to deal with chaos get left behind; willingness to sit with feeling bad – messy is normal and part of being human.

Dying Practices

Traditional media; can no longer retreat into isolation;the usual suspects turning up;printed proceedings; evaluation; the need to be seen as perfect;industrial economic development; individualism and the culture of ‘I’; separateness; taking a pill to fix things if we feel bad; stability is good – change is bad; the hero leader.

New Edges

The Joker/difficultator role of the facilitator; collaborative facilitation practice involving a core team that contributes to sustainability; bringing together ‘accidental, unlikely allies to identify common ground;and  diversity.


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