the essence of invitation

“i’m going, because it matters. come with me. we need you.” this is, to me, the essence of invitation.

harrison owen reported recently, via the OSLIST, on a conversation with a woman who was in the middle of the tahrir square action earlier this year. they concluded that the tahrir event(s) had all the deep qualities of open space, and none of the official trappings, no facilitator, no flipcharts and markers. i thought, yes, that’s true, save one: invitation, lots of individual invitations, that must have sounded just like “i’m going, because it matters. come with me. we need you.”

this might be the best working template for invitation that i’ve yet discovered. there is the integrity of the leader going first, committing first. there is the statement of an issue or opportunity that really matters. it’s personal and active and voluntary: come with me. and it points out beyond control, to what the leader can do only with the help of others: we need you.

harrison’s point was that open space is naturally occuring, and i would say that’s true… because invitation is naturally occuring. facilitation and flipcharts? not so much. but invitation… is.