Giving Back Stories
...is a website set up at http://osi.bigmindcatalyst.com/giveback for gathering stories from open space. harrison owen (ost originator) has always said that open space was free, and always asked those who use it and learn from it to come back and tell their stories... to give back.
now that request is a website: tell us how you’ve shared because of open space. give the gift of stories.
the address for posting is: http://osi.bigmindcatalyst.com/giveback
visit early and often to be informed, inspired, mentored, and sustained.
my entire journey in open space has been one big gift.
a stranger (now old friend) invited me to my first open space conference, in philadelphia. the conference was run cheap, as a community service, not a money-maker. i stayed for free with friends in philly, though did my part to help shovel out of the 2+ feet of snow that fell that week!
while at the conference i was given free access to the online conversation that was going on about open space. i read four years of archived wisdom and learning. years later, after the whole thing had moved to the OSLIST email listserve, Chris Corrigan and I edited and gave away a beautiful snapshot of our community life online... OpenSpaceTechnology/UsersNonGuide
when i was presenting ost to my first client, i looked up harrison's website and found a local colleague to come out and help me tell the story. she came back for the event itself and witnessed my baptism as open space facilitator.
when i met the host of the upcoming chicago training workshop, i was scholarshiped into that course... in return for my marketing assistance in chicago. later i became the host of that training program and offered many scholarships to others.
along the way i began to write a book-sort-of-thing about open space. really just a collection of my tools and papers and stories. friends urged me to publish them as a book, but they weren't finished yet. i posted them on the web instead... at GlobalChicago?
for a moment i worried that they might then never be published formally, to which i reasoned: if they are really valuable, then they need to be out there now, accessible to all... and if they are not valuable, then it doesn't matter. over the years, many folks from around the world have downloaded these materials and sent their thanks. their kind words have kept me going.
the underlying structure of this website was acquired because an open space friend mentioned wiki several times, over a number of years. then the wiki software people asked me to facilitate a conference for them. they taught me wiki, i taught open space. one participant who was my main teacher emailed me to tell me he'd tried open space with great success. i emailed back a list of the new wiki websites i'd set up for others.
when 9/11 happened, and none of us knew anything about what would happen next, i did know that we were going to need more open space. i called a local colleague and suggested as much and asked if he'd host a training workshop, which he did. that workshop turned out to be the second one a string of eight or ten (?) ...i've lost count now... in almost that many countries... all hosted because a local colleague agreed to be partner and host.
some of the participants in those programs are now preparing to teach other training and practice workshops. and my notes on the workshop format and our learnings from doing this around the world are posted at OpenSpaceTechnology ...and in these travels, i gained new appreciation for the great work harrison owen has done in travelling around the world these so many years, telling open space stories.
thanks to all of these and the so many others who have informed my practice over the years... i dare not name names, as i could never name them all...
MichaelHerman January 2002