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Variety of Questions and Approaches for OpenSpaceTechnology Preparation

diving into the four conditions - conflict/passion, complexity/history, urgency/timing, diversity/payoffs

friend and colleague Susan Fehl has been going into corporate settings asking clients/participants to talk about (1) conflicts/passion, (2) complexities of task(s) to be done, (3) urgency of current situation, (4) diversity of skills, opinions, interests, etc. involved. In other words, clients make their own case for OpenSpaceTechnology. Can also gather info on larger purposes, info sources/people to be invited, what movement/progress would look like, and what bottom-line must be achieved.

Then can follow with (1) what is possible in terms of gathering? (2) what is appropriate? (3) what is sufficient? (4) what will be done.

some invitation-writing questions for open space meetings, events and conferences

questions/considerations for the invitation/theme (general food for thought)

seems to me that the best invites are broad, positive, creative, fun ...and still point to the most complex, urgent and important work to be done. in the end, what's most important is probably also most obvious. easy is good. obvious is good. simple is good. heart and gut is good.

questions/considerations for the invite/theme (things we should definitely talk about)

btw, i have noticed that many of these questions are answered in a leader's first five minutes on the phone or in a meeting with me, so all we need to do is capture that initial introduction and then test it for completeness.

identifying "The Givens" that bound the space Answers to these questions may force re-thinking about the applicability of Open Space Technology. Too many givens may indicate a need to refine the theme, refine the givens or use another method. (thanks to marty giannini and probably toke moller and birgitt williams for this list.)

the quick and dirty approach... less is more, again... some theme statements from michael pannwitz in berlin, via chris corrigan in vancouver...

"we're here to improve _______. how will this work?"

i think 'improve' borders on problem solving (yuk!) so this might be rephrased without losing any ooomph...

"we're here to create _______. how does this happen? what is to do? etc."

"we're here to grow more of what works in/for/at _________. how will we do this?"


opening the space in planning meetings and interviews with key stakeholders, some favorite sets of questions...

the basic to do list... can be put on the table in any planning meeting:


from harrison owen, about the "spirit of this place":


from fr. brian bainbridge of melbourne australia, about what is happening...


some questions for beginning the open space journey with leader(s) in org...


adapted slightly from ed oakley's book enlightened leadership...

entering any organization - four essential questions

...noticed these walking down michigan avenue, on a gorgeous sunny tuesday. sort of brian and harrison's interview questions meeting the four quadrants of ken wilber and medicine wheel. was thinking about the shortest path to ongoing open space. this turns out to be an everyday english translation of the ost planning process... invite, invite list, space/time logistics, and followup/documentation plans. after these, i think it can be open space all the way down...

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Last edited May 26, 2003 9:38 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
© 1998-2020 Michael Herman and www.michaelherman.com, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael