I am in the middle of writing a public procurement and will of course suggest Open Space as one way of working. One of the questions they are asking is about quality assurance – In my mind for example the way we operate here on this list, on our OS on OS’s is really quality assurance!
What do you think, how would you express a question about how we work with quality assurance for open space??
Looking forward to hear your thoughts!
I think Open Space transcends quality assurance. It's a tricky thing, but to my mind quality assurance is about control. How can you assure quality when whatever happens is the only thing that could have?
You might instead write in the proposal about both/and. In your project you might use quality assurance processes to do some things, but then use Open Space to ask the question, what else can we be? What are the areas of qualities that we don;t know about? How much better can we get?
And the answers to these questions are "we don't know." Your proposal then becomes about why this is a GOOD thing.
the first question for me is who should be assuring the quality?
in teh opening, it is our practice to lay the responsibility for quality of experience and quality of group product at teh feet or in the lap of each individual there. so from one perspective, the quality assurance process is phenomenally better than the other extreme, where many do the work and one or a few evaluate it. i think it's important in evaluating OS to leave responsibility in the hands into which we originally place it -- in all hands.
the next question is what are we assuring, and why...
the ideal, i think, is that the QA process becomes another kind of invitation to participants... an invitation to reflect on what they cared most about when things started, how that got fit into the agenda (did it get raised?), was there time and space and resources available for dealing with it, and what was accomplished (so far) with the passion, understanding, and support that has been available so far.
this seems to yield two products and one big result...
one, a list of things that got done... and two, a list of things that didn't because they need more care, more understanding, more support, or somebody to take action. all of this, to the good... and none of it having anything at all to do with the facilitator, which is, i think, just what we are after.