Members Conference: More and More (day two)

As is so often the case in Open Space, day two was lots of work, but longer, deeper sort of wave to surf. At least that is my sense of it. The challenge for me? Refining all day my pulsation between facilitation and participation, pulsing too between projects inside and outside of the network. It’s PeaSoup, chunks and flow at once.

The ‘official’ program was ‘scheduled’ to end at 5:30pm with the conclusion of a short ‘evening news’ session, but I think the news went on for an hour more than that… then we ordered pizzas, broke out various video projects for a ‘movie night’. Many of us ended up sitting around our main meeting room until after midnight, making plans for one of our teams to visit and support Theresa Williamson’s Catalytic Communities in Rio de Janeiro.

Theresa and I will convene a session tomorrow to explore ways that her work in squatter communities down south and my work on the Small Change News blogging center might mutually support each other. A number of other intriguing connections and conversations opened today, as well.

Most powerful thing I heard today? A quote from David Boorstin (sp?) who said something to the effect that every social entrepreneur, anyone who really is living and working at the leading edge of change, must necessarily absorb a tremendous amount of failure, testing always, as we do, the limits of what is possible now. I would add that if we are lucky, we also absorb a good share of love, joy and power. The practice seems all about expanding heart to pump more and more of these latter three back out into the world.

Appreciating Open Space

This from Rose Vines blogging the Members’ “More and More” conference that’s running here in Open Space this weekend:

I’m starting to understand the permissive wisdom of Open Space. Can’t say I thought about it much before the conference, but I am so thoroughly enjoying the way this is all happening. (Thanks, Michael.) There’s no compulsiveness about start/stop times; or staying in one group (love the concept of butterflies and bumble bees who cross-pollinate between discussions). And so what I’m discovering is that the discussions never stop…just keep going through lunch, in hallways…morphing as people pass by and drop in a comment. Huge, huge amounts of interconnectedness, repetition (in a really useful sense), common underpinnings to diverse topics. Members Conference: More and More (day one)

Just finished cleaning up the contents page of our conference proceedings, after the first of three days in Open Space with Omidyar friends gathered here in Chicago.

Aside from handling facilitation and hosting matters, my own conversations focused primarily on alternative currencies, markets and credit, looking at the possibility of mutual or community-based credit (as opposed to commercial or institutionally extended credit). The attraction is that mutual credit systems rely on webs of relationships rather than interest payments. Much to digest before I can say more. I’ll try to ground some of today’s learning in next steps for Small Change News Network in a session I’ve posted for tomorrow.

Most fascinating proposition of the day, given my recent studies of China and world currency markets, is the explanation that the real reason for going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan was to gain/maintain greater control over the flow of oil to China. Why? Because they are a tremendous economic wildcard, we can’t control their fiscal, monetary or currency market activities, but if we can manage the oil spigot, we can speed or slow their economy to better serve the American economic interests. In this context, the Chinese bid for Unocal looks like a real shot across the bow.

Most remarkable thing here is the simultaneity of well-informed global scope and really down-and-dirty practical action in so many different localities around the world. More than any place I’ve ever been, there is a palpable, credible sense of “we can do this,” no matter what. The whole of our work seems to be powered by a tremendous, yet unassuming, generosity. Yum! Members: More and More (pre-conference)

Today is the first day of a the first-ever Members’ capacity building conference. I had dinner last night with a group old (online) friends who’d never seen each other before. We are from Boston, Chicago, Denver, California, Oz via New Orleans, Brazil, Germany, New York, Vancouver, and someplace else so far. We have others coming from Africa and elsewhere. We didn’t pick delegates, that’s just where we all happen to come from.

We are, as a group, doing all kinds of different things, amazing things really, “so that more and more people discover their power to make good things happen.” We are meeting these next three days, in Open Space, to have make more of all the good this group is already doing. You can read more and more about Omidyar Network and this conference. Time to go facilitate! Will report more and more later today…

Goal-Free Living: Inviting Movement

Steve Shapiro is just putting the finishing touches on his newest book, Goal-Free Living: How to Have the Life You Want NOW. Goal-Free doesn’t mean no goals, it means not trapped by goals and targets that don’t move and adapt as life ebbs and flows.

I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the book and have a few good stories showing up there. The excitement last night was making the seeds of a plan to use OpenSpaceTech to support readers in making connections and growing practice groups. Next month we’ll spend a day working out four invitations to seed a Goal-Free movement.

For more, see the book and the blog and Oprah’s magazine in November. It’ll be in stores for New Year’s Day.

Currents of Mind

Got this little survey from ChrisCorrigan

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. Fight fire with fire?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Not exactly, but a character in Dandelion Wine or perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird, read in about 7th grade, had a crush on another character that made quite an impression on me. Elsewhere, I got sick for three days after staying up very late reading the executions in Tale of Two Cities. My only sick days in high school. Not sure exactly how the latter relates to the question, though.

The last book you bought is:
The Unconquerable World by Jonathan Schnell, but I’ve been given some others… the new book on World Cafe Facilitation, a series of essays on philanthropy, a draft of a new manuscript on goal-free living, and book of Vaclav Havel’s essays.

The last book you read:
What? You mean like actually finished reading?

What are you currently reading?
Working slowly on the list two questions above, especially the review and comment on the manuscript, at the moment.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

  • Gray’s Anatomy
  • Words of My Perfect Teacher, Patrul Rinpoche
  • Something about stellar navigation
  • Something about local plants or oceans, fishing or boatbuilding
  • The michener volume on whatever place was nearest by, or perhaps alaska or some other chilly place, just for a little refreshment in the heat.

Who are you going to pass this meme to (3 persons) and why?
Daniel O’Connor, Karen Sella, and Ted Ernst… because I don’t get to talk with them often enough and I think the answers will be very different.

Omidyar Network: More and More Conference

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Please help spread the word about this first capacity-building conference for the Omidyar Network community in July. It’s sort of a next generation of the Giving Conference where sCNN was born last year.

Please join us for a three-day event of, by and for the community and friends — to build our capacity to make good things happen.

What: Discovering Our Power to Make Good Things Happen
When: July 29-31, 2005
Where: Carleton Hotel, Oak Park, IL

Who We Are: is a new, growing online community. We believe every individual has the power to make a difference. We exist for one single purpose: So that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen. If you have not joined this community yet, you can go here and check it out.

You’re Invited: This conference is for members, friends and other curious do-gooders to come together, make connections, have fun, do as much good work as each and every one of us can… and then go home, more connected, energized and capable of doing more and more of whatever we call good in the world. Come join a good party getting better! …and bring your good friends, too!

See the full invitation for more information and registration.

technorati: |

Small Change

Some interesting things posted this past month at Small Change News. Want to move in the direction of in June, if I don’t go broke on internet access here in London, the most expensive city in the world. Best rate on dialup service is 4p (8�) per minute. Do the math on that for six or eight hours at the machine in a day! Am off now to get a �5 phone card so that I can use dialup service in Chicago. That’s how expensive it is here! But I digress… some good things starting to take shape at sCNN.

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.

Practice Ripening

I met up with an old classmate today. We hardly knew each other 15 years ago, haven’t talked since, and still I remembered him well. Our meeting was a real pleasure.

More and more I find myself able to do business with people I know and appreciate as friends, some old, some new, and some like today, a little of both. It’s not about friends giving me work, but rather my work leading me to friends. The joy of a practice ripening.

After Success, Enriching Life, and Being Liked

My old friend Uwe Weissflog came through town last week and we managed to see each other for the first time in perhaps seven years. The conversation covered a lot of ground in a few hours. Some things I want to remember…

Open Space: A recent open space with business people on “what comes after success” and “enriching life” beyond just business… Working in networks, some as small as 4 or 5 people, each one with a purpose, something to create together, and generating some revenue… An annual open space retreat for creating things together, exploration of unknown territories, insight, meditation, nature, art… The joy of making connections between people and ideas.

Global Economy and Culture: Noticing that Europe, the US and China are economically rigid, flexible, and merchantilistic in their structures, respectively, but in media and other dimensions the mix might be different. As the world moves toward flexible, the US economy might be best positioned, but the US mass monoculture media might be less well-equipped to handle a global adjustment to flexible forms. Europe seems better poised to benefit from personal and cultural diversity.

Coaching: Do people like you? How does it feel when nobody likes you? How does it feel to be a leader when nobody likes what you’re doing? Everybody wants to be liked, to be seen in a way that makes us feel fully alive, mutually understood and appreciated. This turns out to be a surprisingly effective opening for coaching conversations with leaders.

Literary Power

As bloggers, we think a lot about the power of writing and publishing. Here’s the other side, the reading side of that:

Reading is a democratic activity, argues Philip Pullman, and theocracies discourage it. Khomeini’s Iran and the Soviet Union had similarly degraded views of literature – and Bush’s America is heading the same way.

Philip Pullman is the author of a marvelous trilogy, His Dark Materials, and more, as well as a teacher of literature. Jill and I just saw HDM here in London, presented in two 3-hour productions, on one of only two stages in the world capable of staging these amazing sets. (Your kids want to read these books, and so do you!) Pullman elsewhere….

Literacy has both a public and a private pay-off. The first empowers us in society; the second enriches us as individuals and encourages us to think for ourselves… unless, of course, the latter is deliberately “educated” out of us for the convenience of those who’d really rather we didn’t.

Some years ago I pencilled out some ideas about how writing and public speaking should be taught in school, surprisingly in sync with Pullman’s views here and elsewhere. Time, freedom, joy and practice matter. This past week I helped a friend polish a law school essay, we had fun, even in the time crunch of it. All of which has me thinking again about where I might teach when I get back to Chicago.

Community Networking Conference

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Michael Maranda, CHICAGO: Greetings to all on the planning committee for the 7th Community Networking Conference, scheduled for the end of April, 2005.

Although not quite 2 months remain before we convene “Open Space Austin” we feel that this is the right time for this event. We have much to do as leaders, visionaries, activists and advocates in the field of Community ICT, and now is the time to get to it.

A draft of the vision that has emerged is available here on the wiki. Questions and comments are welcome!

technorati: |

Nepal Appreciative Inquiry National Network

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Last October, we ran a national, 4-day conference and training (Open Space and Appreciative Inquiry) to support peaceful development throughout Nepal. We also set up a number of weblogs so that they could report their good news. Buddhi Tamang has been reporting all kinds of NAINN progress there since then. More than ever, given recent political developments, we are hoping that we can repeat the peaceful development conference this year. Initial funding required is $2000. Look for a DropCash campaign to start this Spring!

technorati: |

Aboriginal Youth in Open Space

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Chris Corrigan reporting in by email this morning…

Just coming off that great Prince George OST and here in Port Hardy for a weekend in the Kwagiulth big house with 50 or so Elders and youth, doing the same thing. We’re talking about a blog to link up with sCNN, so there will be news about that soon. Thanks for keeping the lights on for us.

My guess is that we get more than one blog out of this deal! It may start as one blog in the Local News project blogroll, but I’ve heard stories of these young people before. When they move, they don’t mess around. I’m betting on a Network News node in no time! Here’s a bit from Chris’ story… above…

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I was privileged to work with the urban Aboriginal community of Prince George, a smaller city (80,000) in the northern interior of British Columbia. The UAS has been extended to this community now with a commitment to spend $500,000 over two years and, like we did in Vancouver five years ago, people wanted to use open space to kick it off.

Five years ago we did a good job, but we also learned something
important… more

technorati: |

Nepal News… and New Email Address

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Greetings from Banepa, Nepal! We have just completed a hugely successful conference here. This was four days of working sessions and facilitator training, Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry, all blended together. We had 80 community leaders from every sector and every region of Nepal attending. We’ve been all over the national press and airwaves. Tomorrow we will attempt to start an English-Nepali project weblog, when we get back to Kathmandu. Wonder what will do with the Nepali fonts!

Later this week, there will be time to catch up on sCNN development work. If you’d like to hear from us when we go live, open and public for posting here, please

technorati: |

© 1998-2020 Michael Herman. All Rights Reserved.