In this video, Harrison Owen discusses the chaos that is disrupting the order we take for granted and begins to create a new order and a different world. Harrison has been saying much the same thing for his entire career, starting with his dissertation on Aramaic and associated mythologies and cosmologies. He has been a long-time student of the dance of chaos and order, and his development of Open Space Technology came from this lifelong inquiry.
i encountered Open Space first through an event that was hosted by Anne Stadler and Angeles Arien in 1995, and I met Harrison for the first time in 1998 at a one-day session at Simon Fraser University where he sat and taught about chaos and order, self-organization, organizational transformation and Open Space just through telling stories and sending us into a little bit of Open Space. Harrison’s work ignited two major threads in my life’s work: the facilitation of self-organizing dialogue processes, and a fiery curiosity about how complex systems work.
This talk opened a recent gathering of Open Space facilitators on the Power of Love, Not Knowing and Open Space. These are the stories and insights Harrison has been sharing for his whole career. What I love about him is his embrace of the fundamental simplicity of working with complexity and facilitating Open Space. It’s mind-boggling to me (and him) why people seem so predisposed to make Open Space far more complicated than it needs to be. We understand why: it’s about losing control and being unable to deal with the discomfort of uncertainty. Fear, power and ego come into play, and people lose the ability to act resourcefully.
It’s lovely to watch him teaching and encouraging people to do the simple things well and get out of the way of the work that groups of people can do.
Enjoy this video. He’s been a mentor and an inspiration for me for 25+ years. We do indeed love you, Harrison.