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Opening Space for High Performance and the Practice of Peace

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Opening Space
for High Performance and the Practice of Peace

“When peace is threatened, the appropriate response is simply to open space. In doing so, the chaotic, conflicted human systems are invited to do what only they can do: self-organize to new and higher levels of complexity more in harmony with each other, their environment and their inner needs.”

From the book Wave Rider, Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

by Harrison Owen, 2008


International House, New York City

January 15-17, 2016


How often in life do we allow ourselves to reflect deeply on what we care about, to be curious, to listen and share without pressure, and to let go in a way that creates more clarity and a greater sense of purpose around questions that we care about? How often does it happen that we experience the quiet joy of being with others, strangers and colleagues, mixing and interacting with such ease, noticing our different beliefs and similar views, brimming with ideas and renewed energy, feeling a deep sense of gratitude and living moments of intense learning together.

Imagine if we had, over a period of just a few days, conversations and insights that inspire us to higher performance and a deep feeling of peace and knowing that we have all that we need to navigate the chaos swirling around us at work, in life and the world in general. That’s what typically happens in Open Space.

For 30 years, this natural and counter-intuitive experiment called Open Space Technology (OST) has demonstrated no less than 300,000 times or more, in about 150 countries with groups of 5 to 3500, that peace and high performance are not only possible but also predictable and highly probable when we leverage the potency of self-organization.

For nearly two decades, people from near and far have gathered at International House in New York City to share and deepen their practice of OST while exploring what it means to invite others, to be and live in Open Space. A spirit of camaraderie and collegiality emerges quickly as old timers and newcomers connect, learning from each other’s stories and experiences.

Together we marvel that something as simple as OST, which took its genesis from the high energy of a coffee break, can produce as much! We walk away with a newfound confidence, fully equipped to invite and involve others on issues that matter. We know the simplicity of OST: “sit in a circle, create a bulletin board, open a marketplace, and go to work”.

You are invited to experience and learn to apply this age-old force of self-organization as we engage, explore and deepen our understanding around our theme:

“Creating High Performance and Peace in our Lives,

our Organizations, our Communities and our Planet.”


All passionate issues, opportunities, ideas and challenges are welcome.


The Program will unfold over 3 days, between 9-5 each day. On Day I anyone who cares to learn the fundamentals of OST facilitation or to become more comfortable with facilitating is invited. This first day focuses on the essentials for opening space with any group, including core principles, the planning process, when to use Open Space, action approaches, and role and behavior of the facilitator. Practice during Days II-III will increase your proficiency.

Days II – III: The design for each of the following two days is identical. In the morning, Harrison Owen, the originator of OST, will offer reflections on “Creating the conditions for Peace and High Performance” and on the final day “Opening Space in our Lives, our Organizations and our Planet”. The balance of each day will be in dialogue with others in open space. We will all be teachers. We will all be learners. At the conclusion you will have a compendium of materials (online) to remind you of your experience and to support you in your new ventures.

If you are specifically interested in the facilitation of OST, the first day of the program is essential, as well as reading Harrison Owen’s Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide and viewing a video of a telephone company, OST at US West, (16 minutes): Other recommendations are Harrison Owen’s TedX talk: and his books The Practice of Peace and Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance






Three (3) days, January 15-17

$750 US


Two (2) days



One (1) day only



Fees include continental breakfast, lunches, coffee breaks and materials.

Note: Our desire is to include all who wish to participate. If your budget does not fit the stated fees, please contact Karen at 1-212-595-9107 or



Harrison Owen: Harrison is President of H.H.Owen and Co. His academic background and training centered on the nature and function of myth, ritual and culture. In the middle '60s, he left academe to work with a variety of organizations including small West African villages, urban (American and African) community organizations, Peace Corps, Regional Medical Programs, National Institutes of Health, and Veterans Administration. Along the way he discovered that his study of myth, ritual and culture had direct application to these social systems. In 1979 he created H.H.Owen and Company in order to explore the culture of organizations in transformation as a theorist and practicing consultant. Harrison convened the First International Symposium on Organization Transformation, and is the originator of Open Space Technology. He is the author of Spirit: Transformation and Development in Organizations, Leadership Is, Riding the Tiger, Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, The Millennium Organization, Tales From Open Space, Expanding Our Now: The Story of Open Space Technology, The Spirit of Leadership: Liberating the Leader in Each of Us, The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform, The Practice of Peace and Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World.

Karen J. Davis: Karen, a consultant with organizations globally, is committed to enhancing the health, effectiveness, and joy of human systems. She is dedicated to co-creating global communities through working and learning with colleagues throughout the world. For a decade Karen was graduate faculty in Santiago de Chile. She is part of the leadership of the International Organization Development Association and has been on the board of the Organization Development Network. Karen serves on the boards of Open Space Institute of US, as well as on boards of community and cultural organizations. Karen is a co-author in The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook. She has been involved with Open Space since before its naming. When not traveling or working around the world, she lives in New York City, returning regularly to her native Arizona. Summers, she is on her farm in rural Quebec, Canada. Karen describes herself as a gardener and a world citizen.

Open Space Institute US: OSI-US holds space for Open Space and serves by: providing access to resources on Open Space; connecting individuals and groups to inform, inspire, mentor, and sustain each other in opening and holding space; and being an inclusive learning community. We believe that inspired behavior can be an everyday experience and that humanity is only limited by its perceptions of the possible. OSI was created to grow that sense of possibility and make it a reality by focusing on: learning, research and practice.

January 15th, 2016 9:00 AM   through   January 17th, 2016 5:00 PM
International House
500 Riverside Dr
New York, NY 10027
United States

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Event Fee(s)
All 3 Days - Corporate $ 750.00
All 3 Days - Nonprofit/Individual $ 500.00
Any 2 Days - Corporate $ 500.00
Any 2 Days - Nonprofit/Individual $ 335.00
Any 1 Day - Corporate $ 250.00
Any 1 Day - Nonprofit/Individual $ 170.00

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