at Work:

A Personal
and Public
Invitation to
Open Space

Michael Herman

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Questions to:

[email protected]

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Cyberspace is Open:

On the Way to Worldwide Open Space

Fall, 1998, Global Chicago was launched as a place to play with Open Space as cyberspace. It seemed to me at the time that if people understood what was happening on the web, and were ready to participate, then they would also understand Open Space Technology... and vice versa. My goal was to invite more people to play in both places. Acclimating to the speed of information, the openness of the possibilities, and the power of communicating with so many people at once, across distances and time, seemed important.

There is tremendous energy in moving the things we care about into such a public domain. From day one, Global Chicago has allowed me to invite others to post their events (their invitations) and also to invite them to incubate their own small website stories, as well as just experiment with distance conversation. The forums software itself also has been replicating. I learned about it through Koos de Heer in the Netherlands and my use of it at www.globalchicago.net has spawned several other applications elsewhere, including the website of the Worldwide Open Space community (www.openspaceworld.org).

What follows on the next few pages are the welcoming messages for globalchicago.net and the online forums there. You'll see that the links to the meeting practices of Open Space Technology were easy to make. What is not so easy to see is the wave of energy that rocks and rolls behind this work and spills into other kinds of digital and human stories. The ups and downs of that energy shows up in the personal poems (about living in open space) that are included on the next page.



Welcome to GlobalChicago...

GlobalChicago is an online gathering point for thinking and learning in wholistic, global terms, while meeting and practicing locally.

It is a global invitation with local, community roots in the greater, greater Chicago area. It seeks to make connecting easier and grow more of what works in business and community organizations.

Global Chicago exists to help you look into what really matters, make new stories and plans, move people, information and resources into action, and create responsible ripples wherever you are.

The medium is new, but the work is well underway -- as many, many of us have been connecting with worldwide networks, ideas and movements for a long time and have been doing what we can to bring our global, even universal, learnings to life, here in the midwest, for the benefit of all.

Your comments are always welcome at [email protected] or 312-280-7838.

The Experiment...

Global Chicago is a place to explore the issues and opportunities that matter most to you -- and for which you are willing to take a little responsibility by intiating a invitations and conversations here. A number of community and working groups are already experimenting with this.

Most of the forums here start with just one or a few people who posted an important question or issue and then invited others to join them. In most cases, GlobalChicago offers some electronic glue within groups that are already meeting face-to-face for working, learning, practicing or planning -- but don't meet face-to-face as often as they'd like to.

In many ways, this is an experiment in ongoing, real-world, open space. So if you've got an interest in Open Space Technology, this is a good place to play with it! Suggest a forum, moderate a discussion, invite others to join us, add spirit! This is, admittedly, a very big open space, but it still ebbs and flows, evolves and revolves, on your passion bounded by your responsibility.

And the four principles and one law of Open Space still apply:

Whoever comes is the right people. Margaret Mead said,"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." This is an open invitation to people who care about workplace and community well-being.

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. There are bound to be surprises here, all kinds of ups and downs,but in general, this place can help us expand our view, our work, our time, our now.

Whenever it starts is the right time AND when it's over,it's over. This message is a simple invitation. It may be coming straight from me or perhaps somebody else thinks you might learn and contribute to the Forums. Either way, this sort of inviting is the simplest, most powerful -- and often the only thing -- we can do, as people, issues and passion always show up in their own good time. And when they run out, we'll mark the thread 'closed' and move on to other topics.

In cyberspace, the Law of Two Feet becomes the law of Two Clicks. As in, you're just two clicks from the farthest corners of the world or your most important colleagues across town. The challenge of this space is to use your two clicks to learn and contribute the most, for yourself, for your organization(s) and for the communities we all live in.

The Invitation...

Take a moment to consider the people and places that support your ongoing personal and professional learning and contribution. How often do you get to see them? ...and how often do you get to see them all together, where you can co-create on topics and projects where you share a real passion? Where else can you find just-in-time insights on leading, learning, and leveraging resources in organization? The Forums at Global Chicago are an invitation and an opportunity to learn and contribute in an online, ongoing, open space.

They are an online workspace for the questions, issues and opportunities that you care about most -- a place where you can invite old friends and connect with new ones who share your personal and professional interests. Indeed, everything at Global Chicago exists to connect and support the whole-systems global learning -- that so many of us are already doing -- from our more-or-less local work and meeting spaces. If you don't find the issue or idea that's most important to you, then you can post it yourself to find others who share your interests, passions and questions.

And so, it's time to jump in. Surf on by. Muck about. Click and read and post. Ask a provocative question. Read and learn from others. Convene a peer consulting group. Review books and other resources. Visit the Coffee Shop. Write books and invent resources. Organize an event or a community project, or continue your face-to-face meeting here. Announce an upcoming event. Scan the calendar. Invite friends. Add spirit. Grow and work. Learn and contribute.



(from the original MHA website homepage)


Welcome! I'm glad our paths are crossing...

In fact, it seems that many, many paths are emerging from distant, seemingly different, places and starting to flow together in powerful new directions. The expected is dissolving into the emergent, the curious, the inviting, the interactive...and through the turbulence, whole new organizations are taking shape.

Michael Herman Associates and globalchicago.net are all about working through the rapid, sometimes swirling, changes now occurring in organizations and communities. They are about managing and learning -- in open space and cyberspace -- to create simple, powerful, productive and INVITING organizations.

They are the faces of one small circle in an emerging global conversation that invites and, at times, requires all of us to become leaders in our own lives, to work on the challenges we all share, toward solutions we all need and futures we all want... on our way to prosperity, on our way to well-being, on our way to peace, on our way to global.

I think we really are on our way to global, maybe even universal. There is an inter-related, inter-responsible, self-organizing wholeness coming to light in people, work groups, organizations and communities everywhere -- and everything is open for question, comment and especially contribution. The only thing we know for sure is that it's going to take everybody to get what we all really want... so I'm glad you're here.

Your thoughts and questions are always welcome at [email protected] or 312-280-7838.

Best for now


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Evolution at Work: A Personal Journey and Public Invitation to Open Space, by Michael Herman (www.michaelherman.com)
© Copyright 1998-2000 Michael Herman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reprint or distribute without permission and full attribution, including web address and copyright notice. Permission will be granted gladly if you'll just say what you'd like to copy and where you'd like to share it. [email protected]