Thanks to Sue Ann Darre, Steve Proudman,
Linda Stevenson, Vi Traynor and the convenors of OT-19 for the
invitations shared below.
This page starts with the open space conference
that started it all, where Open Space Technology was discovered...
the Annual Symposium on Organization Transformation, now in its
19th incarnation. This invitation goes out in email, mail and
Following this (rather long) invitation
you'll find a variety of other bits and pieces from conference
events of all shapes and sizes. The theme of each invitation
is highlighted in bold.
Remember, too, that none of the language
here is "right," but some of it may be useful.
THE NINETEENTH ANNUAL
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON
JULY 2-6, 2001
PAWLING, NEW YORK, USA
You are invited to the 19th Annual International Symposium
on Organization Transformation. As usual this conference is not
for everybody, especially those who expect or require a tightly
structured, carefully controlled event. We will enter into Open
Space without prepared agenda or clear-cut knowledge as to where
we will end up. We will only know our theme, who is coming, and
what they are interested in. Be prepared to be surprised.
Life pulses on. Our beginnings end, and our endings give birth
to new beginnings. And every day we run smack into the familiar
and the strange, and though we may pride ourselves on our ability
to recognize, it's never the same thing twice.
We see the world with hope and dread, a sense of dual anticipation.
We travel down the path of our own lives experiencing, at every
step, both doubt and certainty. And every step is a choice that
closes one door and opens another. Reach for any doorknob and
realize that entering any new space means you leave another behind.
Here you are. Here we are. So now what?
Please join friends and colleagues from around the world who
seek to understand the journey of transformation. Explore the
closings and openings that surround us and envelop us. We do
know the world continues in all sorts of shifts, re-frames, and
transitions, as do the organizations of which we are a part,
and for which we carry so much hope. The experience of these
movements is not always pleasant, but it certainly can be exciting,
even breathtaking. (Do you carry a parachute, or do you just
"go with it"?)
Since there isn't any other game in town at least on
this planet we might as well be the ones who pay attention
to the transformational journey, and we might as well learn to
do it as best we can do it. A few things are certain: all of
this requires new ways of thinking, doing and being, and we are
free to add a generous dollop of playfulness. For if we ever
took ourselves too seriously, there would be trouble.
Do plan to come for this, the 19th annual International Symposium
on Organization Transformation, where absolutely everything is
of our own making.
If we are on a journey, it is one without maps except as we
create them. There are no simple answers, only a lot of questions
in the great experiment. This is not to suggest that this symposium
will produce neither content nor outcomes, for indeed there will
be plenty of both. However, the experience of content and achievement
of outcomes will depend on the exercise of individual and collective
responsibility all of us together.
- The agenda will be something we create.
- The content will be what each person brings.
- And the outcome will be nothing like anyone has ever seen
Don't miss it.
What's Going to Happen?
The honest answer is we just don't know. We will, however,
create an Open Space in which good thinking, creating, celebrating
and just plain being together can take place. Beyond that we
have only the expectations we bring from our several lives and
the common tradition of the eighteen previous Symposia on Organizational
Transformation. Somehow we will honor the past, acknowledge the
present and anticipate the future. None of this can be done,
of course, solely in seriousness. So through it all there may
very well be a sense of High Play, in which we take the opportunity
of the moment to enrich and engage new possibilities, joyfully
creating useful forms for an emerging world.
The design is simple and open. Given the talent that will
be present, the design is intended less to tell folks what to
do than to provide a supportive environment in which they can
do what needs to get done. Open Space
- just what the words imply. A safe time/space for people to
pursue the business at hand. Morning
Announcements / Five O'clock News - Short periods
to bring people up to date on what has been happening and what
lies ahead. Celebration-
A time to boogie, if that feels good. Closing
- Nothing too formal, just a simple time to honor the Spirit
we have shared.
Practicalities - Logistics
Full Participation -
The symposium will not work with Drop-Ins. So PLEASE
come for the whole thing, in order that you may give and receive
in full measure.
Pre-Conference Material -
About one month before the opening day, each participant
will receive a full list of all registered guests so you will
know who is coming and where they are coming from. Should you
wish to start a little bit early, please feel free to call or
write your co-conspirators.
The serene, historic Hudson Valley adjacent to Pawling, New
York, will be the location of OT 19, from Monday evening, July
2, 2001 until Friday noon, July 6. Your host will be Holiday
Hills Conference Center, www.holidayhills-ny.com.
CALL RALPH COPLEMAN AT 609-895-1629
TO MAKE LODGING/MEALS RESERVATIONS FROM THESE OPTIONS:
For those sleeping on-site, rates are based on double
occupancy, per person (single occupancy add $25 per night), which
includes all meals beginning with dinner on 7/2 and concluding
with lunch on 7/6. Four nights total required.
Cottage Row $85.00 per person per night, plus meals, four
The Inn $87.00 " " " "
Donaldson Center $96.00 " " " "
For commuters and campers, the
Conference Center charges a daily participant fee of $48.00 per
person, which includes all meals beginning with dinner on 7/2
and concluding with lunch on 7/6. Four days total required.
Camping is available in the area, but not available
on the conference site. Try James Baird State Park: 845-452-1489.
print this last part and mail with your conference registration...
OT19 / July 2-6, 2001,
*** please send this in addition to
making lodging/meals reservations ***
Admin Fee ($30 non-refundable) (___)
SEND TO: John Adams /
1360 Fourth Avenue, San Francisco / CA 94122 / USA
Make check payable to Eartheart Enterprises
in US dollars, drawn on any US Bank.
Phone 415-753-6668 Fax 415-753-6669 Email
Pass this invitation along to friends
and colleagues whom you believe will enjoy and contribute to
OT-19. As always, whoever comes will be the right people, and
for sure your guests will be the right people. Details at www.openspaceworld.org/OT19
See you in Pawling!
John Adams, Rhoda Nussbaum, Michael
Herman, Tom Thiss, Peter Thiss, Ralph Copleman, Cindy Schlager,
Wendy Potter, Ann and Fred Thompson, Diana Ramsey, Roger Cooper,
Mike Bell, Peter and Alayne Rabow, Brenda Dettman,
Leah Dettman Steinberg, Mark Hunziker
This blurb from an annual association meeting.
The first two days were divided into all kinds of formal sessions
organized in a traditional agenda. The entire last day of the
three-day conference was offered and described as simply as this...
Networking to the Nth Degree: This is the working and networking session you've
been asking for (for years) -- a time to go deeper into the most
important issues raised on Thursday and Friday, and to raise
any new issues not addressed in the formal program schedule.
The method we'll use is called Open Space. It's been used extensively
and successfully by a number of associations and chapters worldwide,
and it's wide open. Get ready to raise those issues and opportunities
on which you want to focus the experience and insight of your
peers -- for the benefit of yourself, your local unit and the
association nationally. Expect to work together, have some fun
and be surprised by this unique opportunity.
This went out as a simple, large postcard,
with bold two-color graphics. What follows here is the entire
text of the invitation...
Calling all entrepreneurs. You are not alone.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ROUNDTABLE
Join other daring minds in an open-hearted
Saturday, November 22nd.
(flip side, with space for mailing address)
Come spend the day with some of Colorado's
best and brightest entrepreneurs.
Business for Social Responsibility's Entrepreneurial
Roundtable presents an all-day symposium on creating the entrepreneurial
community of your dreams. It's a chance for you to come together
with a worthy group of socially and environmentally responsible
peers to share your visions, ideas, and passions. This is a rare
opportunity to connect heart to heart with like-minded business
owners. Don't miss it.
Saturday, November 22nd - 9:30am to 6:00pm
- Boulder, Colorado
Cost $79 (lunch included)
For more information, or to register, please
This is most of the text from a conference
that made a full day of open space the core of the event, with
business meetings scheduled before and some breakout sessions
to follow the main, open space event day. Having the whole open
space event take place WITHIN the vendors exhibition hall made
for one giant, very successful marketplace. This invite went
out by traditional, US Postal Service, mass-mailing.
Wisconsin Medical Group Management Association
Winter Conference Event - February 12-13, 1998
Come with an open mind and transform your
Opening Space for Healthcare Professionals...
The WMGMA Winter Conference has scheduled a wide variety of topics
and session that appeal to all clinic adminstrators and managers.
Join us on February 12-13 in the Madison area.
You'll work with other healthcare professionals to address the
most important issues and opportunities for healing in our work,
our organizations and our communities. It's all about mutual
support, organization learning, and patient care.
Conference at a Glance: (who, what, when,
Wednesday (evening)... Pre-registration, committee
meetings, welcome reception
Thursday (all day)... General Session
Taking Care of the Healing Business: Issues and opportunities
for healthy work, healthy organizations, and healthy communities
How do you integrate the business of healthcare
with the practice of healthcare? Are you looking to revitalize
your work, your organization and your community as the business
of healthcare moves at breakneck speed into the 21st century?
Well, you don't have to do it alone!
We'll open a space where you'll work with
other professionals to identify and address the most important
issues in your work, your organization and your community. Come
prepared with your own burning questions and pressing needs...
and be ready to address them in a dynamic, high-learning environment.
You'll determine your own agenda for the day,
with total flexibility to choose the small, issue-oriented working
groups that serve your own immediate needs and interests. And
the whole event will take place within the marketplace of our
vendors exhibit hall, so you'll be able to meet with dozens of
visiting experts and pull them into the conversation whenever
you need them.
Friday (half-day)... three rounds of traditionally
organized, one-hour long, concurrent breakout sessions, including
a session on how to introduce open space into organization.
(lodging, directions, and other logistical
This is an excerpt from the 1995 AEE Conference
Invitation, for a short pre-conference event organized by good
friend and master educator, Steve Proudman. This page was passed
out as people arrived and registered at the conference site,
as well, which helped late-comers get into the flow even after
missing the opening briefing. This was my very first glimpse
of Open Space in action. Needless to say, it worked. <grin>
Open Space '95
Association for Experiential Education
23rd International Conference
EBTD Pre-Conference Event
Thursday, November 9, 1995 * 12:45 p.m. -
12:45 - 1:45 Community Assembly and Process
2:00 - 3:30 First Session
3:45 - 5:15 Second Session
In the spirit of building community through
experiential learning, an open space event is the workshop planned
for Thursday afternoon. Open Space is a large meeting technology
that will provide the opportunity for all conference participants
to engage in the question: "What are the issues and opportunities
to plant, harvest or be a seed for change?" The content
of this event will be what each individual brings to the session
- the outcomes will be what we collectively co-create. This is
an opportunity to bring your "real work" issues, burning
theory questions, networking needs, hopes and dreams, etc. into
a self-directed forum with other conferees who share mutual interests.
It is the host committee's hope that Open Space '95 will allow
us to experience new ways of growing together at AEE's International
Open Space is a new, but tested, approach
used to enhance learning in a large group. First developed in
1984 by Harrison Owen, Open Space Technology is being used world-wide
with community groups, government agencies, educational institutions
and corporations. It is effective when many people desire to
address complex issues, common interests and expanding networks,
with high levels of innovation, ownership and synergy, over a
short periods of time. Open Space is a learning environment that
fosters shared visions, empowered participants and self-managed
groups. It is a meeting of minds charged with excitement, flashes
of inspiration, and profound satisfaction.
Open Space '95 will be facilitated by members
of the Experience-Based Training & Development Professional
Group (EBTD). Initially, all participants will meet together
in the same room. In this first phase, facilitators will explain
the process by which subgroup meetings will be developed and
the self-organized afternoon sessions will be established. Participants
themselves create different session topics. You do not need to
have a polished presentation to convene a session - you need
only to show up and invite people to engage themselves in the
topic. Once individuals have selected their learning areas of
interest, the first sessions begin. You can change your selection,
or join a new session at any time. Every session is open to all.
These are only a few principles of Open Space
- Those who attend a session are the right
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could
- When it starts, it's the right time.
- When it's over...it's over (i.e., when the
energy is gone, it is time to move on.)
In addition to these principles, the "Law
of Personal Mobility" will be in effect. If you find you
are in the wrong session (for any reason at all) get up and relocate.
Don't waste time. But be prepared to be surprised!
So, what is really going to happen? The honest
answer is that we really don't know. We only know that there
will be an incredible breadth and depth of talent that will be
in attendance. We trust that the process will work, because you
will make it work. We look forward to having you join us for
some risk-supportive learning in our wonderful community of friends.
This piece actually invited people to come
learn ABOUT open space technology, but it had so much good language
in it, I modified it a bit and included it here as if the invitation
was to gather IN open space...
The Capital Quality Initiative
Business Networking Organization
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Your most powerful resource is the creative
potential of every person who shares your passion to live in
a quality community. Yet passion is just the first of two requirements
to co-create the community or organization of your dreams. The
other is taking responsibility.
There is a process called Open Space Technology,
in which organization emerges around those two criteria: passion
and responsibility. Open Space creates incredibly spirited performance
with simple, but highly effective, facilitation, in times of
The process serves as an appropriate organizational
model for the millennium because it is harmonious with life's
natural tendency to self-organize. Open Space brings into reality
what Meg Wheatley theorizes as 'a simpler way' of being in organization.
The process starts with a broad question such as:
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES AROUND
CREATING A COMMUNITY YOU WOULD TRULY LOVE TO BE A PART OF?
The the magic begins: leadership belongs to
no one and everyone, visions emerge spontaneously, teamwork appears
without training, community is heart-felt, and participants self-manage
their work for optimal results. We can go to places beyond our
expectations, if we're willing to trust the process, remember
its simple principles, and let go of control (which was only
an illusion anyway!).
If you're curious about what we can create
in Open Space, please join us for this important event....