Michael Herman
Opening Space for Business Agility

 
 
 

same tune, different lyrics... open space by any other name:


open space is the stuff we live in. open space technology is one simple, powerful way to practice living and working in open space more consciously. ost is just one way to acknowledge the reality of open space. the four principles and one law of ost are one way to explain what is happening and how to proceed in open space.

this topic is a collection of other ways to say much of the same stuff that i think the open space tech principles and law say...

 the four principles:

 1. whoever comes is the right people
 2. whenever it starts is the right time
 3. whatever happens is the only thing that could have
 4. when it's over, it's over

 the law of two feet:

you and only you know when you are learning and contributing as much as you can... use your two feet to go where you need to go to do your best work... in other words, when your mind wanders, stay whole, take your body with it! don't waste time. you're responsible for your own experience here. what's your passion now? and now? and now...


NYTIMES quote of the day, 2-28-03:

"We have no idea what we will need until we get there on the ground."

- PAUL D. WOLFOWITZ, deputy secretary of defense on the cost of a war in Iraq.


it may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.

 -- wendell berry


Ngarinyin elder, David Mowaljarlai is an Aborigine of Australia. You can meet him in a book called "The Dream Keepers" by Harvey Arden. His opening line.....

"What's important is beyond all understanding - that's the first thing you must understand," Ngarinyin elder David Mowaljarlai told us...

…and later: “Once it stops bein a mystery, it stops bein true.”


 A little something to tickle your reflection --

 Zhaozhou asked Nanquan, "What is the Way?"
 Nanquan said, "The normal mind in the Way."
 Zhaozhou asked, "Can it be approached deliberately?"
 Nanquan said, "If you try to aim for it, you thereby turn away from it."
 Zhaozhou said, "If one does not try, how can one know it is the Way?"
 Nanquan said, "The Way is not in the province of knowledge, yet not in the
 province of unknowing. Knowledge is false consciousness, unknowing is
 indifference. If you really arrive at the inimitable Way, it is like space,
 empty and open; how can you insist on affirmation and denial?"
 At these words Zhaozhou was suddenly enlightened.

 Translation by Thomas Cleary (Unlocking the Zen Koan)


breema bodywork. nine basic principles for harmony. see http://www.breema.com/principles.html for details. these principles seem to apply quickly and easily to the rest of life, and be totally in sync with the NOW of open space... the list is jon schreibers, the "...'s" are mine:


work naked: essential principles for peak performance in the virtual workplace (and the whole work place is getting virtual). these from the book called 'work naked' by cindy froggatt. www.worknakedbook.com for details. working naked began as a bit of joking about telecommuting and working naked, or pajama'd, or however, wherever,

whenever is ideal for the talented and responsible person who is doing the work... rather how, when and where our culture says we SHOULD OR MUST work.

here are cindy's eight principles, which seem to manifest pretty quickly in open space meetings, events and organizations. again, the list is hers, the "...'s" are mine:


dee hock, founder of visa international and originator of the term 'chaordic' for description of organizations that combine chaos and order in their design. www.chaordic.org for more details.

this list is a little murkier, for me, than the previous ones. i won't bother to try to map it all into simpler open space terms, but i do think that that is where these characteristics lead.

what's more, i'm not sure where the chaordic org is really any different than other orgs. was there ever an org that was ALL chaos or ALL order? still, it's refreshing when corporate-minded folks start acknowledging and embracing the swirl of the two.

one little link to open space... all events/conferences in open space are convened for a purpose (first on list below) and invite/allow REAL self-organization (item two). from then on, it seems to me that the SELF that is organizing in item two very naturally takes care of all the rest.

According to Dee Hock, Chaordic Organizations:

 

i should add that the bit i like even better from dee hock, because it rings SO true to my own approach/perspective on organization (grin) is from an overhead he used some time ago at a www.crossroads-center.org lecture event. can't recall EXACTLY what he said, but here is the gist:

the greater an organization's ability/capacity to receive, produce, store, transform and transmit information, the more diverse and powerful the organization can become.

in other words, making money is ALL about making meaning, moving products and services is all about moving information, gotta keep on getting the story straight!

 

 Subject: open space for infants?
 Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 22:05:09 -0800
 From: Jeff Aitken <ja@svn.net>
 Reply-To: OSLIST <OSLIST@LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU>
 To: OSLIST@LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU

 My friend Beth recently met a prominent expert on early childhood
 development. Beth asked him, "what does a young child most need for
 development?" and he replied, "open space."

 Beth loves OST, so her ears perked up. "What do you mean, open space?" she
 asked. And he proceeded to basically describe OST, although he had never
 heard of the process we use in organizations!

 Here is a snip from a recent paper by Dr. Louis Sander (1997):

 "(T)he essential features of self-regulation and self-organization that are
 required of every living organism cannot be bypassed when we come to deal
 with the developing human infant...

 The essential requirement that each living organism be self-regulating
 requires that the initiative to take one or the other direction must come
 from within the organism itself, not from an extrinsic source...

 (One example) is illustrated... by the bassinet-monitoring study. This was
 the appearance over the course of an infant's awake period of an 'open
 space' (Sander, 1977) in time that allows the endogenously activated, self
 organizing initiative of the infant to emerge and begin the process of
 constructing its own idiosyncratic goals...

 (T)he mother puts the infant in a reclining chair where the baby can see
 and hear her, and goes about her other work or interests. This is a moment
 of disengagement, but one in a state of regulatory stability, a coherence
 in the infant-caregiver system as a whole. This is an open space in time
 when the infant's 'primary activity', its agency for generating
 self-organization, can take off in initiating and organizing an
 idiosyncratic network of proximal engagement of its own...

 Here we have a systems model, then, of equilibrium constructed by an
 enduring coordination between infant and mother over time that provides
 containment without impingement."