the business case for Open Space – a number of us around the world have been talking about making “the business case for open space.” some of that discussion is captured in the OpenSpaceTech section. the challenge, it seems to me, is that this “case” needs to be made is such specific, local language. community language can be fairly general and human, but corporate/organizational language gets very specific to functions, levels, silos, etc. and the case must be made locally in the native tongue. this is one reason why i think there hasn’t been as much generic business case-making done yet.
my friend susan fehl cut through a lot of that last week for me, as she explained her process of introducing open space to corporate orgs. first, she gets invited in. this seems important, to be known as a capable sort of person and be contacted to help. then, she listens to what is going on. if she wants to introduce OpenSpaceTech, then she simply suggests it, noticing for the corporate folks that it works best when four conditions are present: passion (even conflict), complexity, urgency and diversity. having said this, she just asks them where these conditions show up in their organization and/or project situation(s). and of course, they always show up. in this way, they make the case for themselves and spell out much of what’s needed for framing the first open space meeting.
susan’s been mixing some skills building and coaching pieces together, with open space meetings being the “ground” in which corporate folks are practicing the skills at the same time that they are getting the real work of planning and implementing solutions. looking forward to combining her work and the OpenSpaceTech/TrainPracticeWorkshop approach chris corrigan and i have used in various places around the world.