At the Open Space List, there has been an interesting little discussion about the evolution of Open Space Technology. Michael weighed in with a lovely observation and then Harrison Owen himself summed it all up:
Michael You said, ” i would say that i think there is *definitely* a next generation of ost… and another and another… but it’s not the *process* that’s changing — it’s the facilitator!”
I think that is a marvelous insight! It is certainly true for me. The essentials of OST, and the way I “do” them has changed so little in 20 years (with the exception of some omissions — several things I thought of NOT to do) that it seems almost frozen. Had it been anything else, we would have now been on version 22.5 — and the truth of the matter is that I am really at 1.0. Well maybe 1.2 or 3 🙂
But the same cannot be said for me. Still feels like me, but hardly the person I saw in the mirror 20 years ago. Bigger, broader, spacious, comfortable — I like it! Was it all OST? Probably not, but much of it happened in, or thanks to, OST.
It is journey I would covet for anybody. And truth to tell setting new people on that journey, at least getting them to the head of the trail, is probably the only reason I still “do” Open Space. Sounds odd I guess, but turning people on to themselves and their world is magic — hopefully for them, and definitely for me.
This is such an eloquent summation of my whole career too. If you are a facilitator looking to deepen your practice, heed this lesson: it is not the tools that need changing and constant improvement; it is you. Let your use of tools shape you to working with people in the ways which feel most natural. From that place, we develop the approach of inviting leadership. From inviting leadership we develop excellence and ease in making good.
Peggy Holman and I were talking about this the other day. She is in the final stages of completing the second edition of The Change Handbook, which will be a mammoth collection of tools and processes. And despite this “last word” on the tools of dialogue and deliberation, we agreed that even that tome is simply the proverbial hand pointing at the moon.
Immerse yourself in these tools, practice and then see how YOU change. That is the secret, the golden elixir, the pearl. Master practice, practice mastery.
[tags]inviting leadership, michael herman, harrison owen, peggy holman[/tags]