Open World Cafe Spaces

Been thinking and talking via OSLIST about OpenSpaceTech and the World Cafe method developed by Juanita Brown. Here’s the latest design thought…

we can open the space as usual (except that folks are seated at so many tables, instead of one big circle) and invite folks at tables to post their issues, opportunities and the rest on the table tops and when they’ve identified for themselves the major issues, begin discussing, and documenting key points. give them the law of the open seat… whenever they feel some completion or some overwhelm, they can make an open seat, whenever they are ready to learn and contribute something else, they can fill an open seat. and the whole process could run until everyone was standing!

this would be like opening so many little open spaces and then letting them bump into each other for as long as time allowed. then the question is how to process, or if to process, perhaps just distribute, the record of the all of them. if we numbered the tables, ppts might refer in one document to the notes at another table, and this would be ready-made for posting in a wiki website. wow.

the limiting factor here is that in this design, all the issues come between us, literally between us on the tables. in the normal open space process, the issues all go up on the wall, and we literally face them together, shoulder to shoulder. my sense has always been that this posture and positioning makes a difference. is the difference critical? sometimes maybe it is, and sometimes not. the skill comes in knowing when and where these things matter.