You are here

Opening Space for Peace and High Performance 2015

Opening Space for Peace and High Performance

at Work and in Life:

Navigating Chaos, Confusion and Conflict

International House, New York City

January 16-18, 2015

There are times when we can hardly make sense of the world. We see the issues swirling around us. We sometimes can feel the pain and fear that hovers in plain sight or is hidden from view. With each passing day, there seem to be more distractions, greater complexity and fewer simple solutions. And yet here we all are, still optimistic, hopeful, and no less determined to make a difference.

Whether your passion is the world of work, community, environment, peace in the world or living life to the fullest, we invite you to join an intrepid and diverse group of individuals united in their desire to fully engage in the big questions of life with others.

Each year, for many years, people have gathered, from different sectors and often from very far away. Inevitably when they leave, they comment on the gifts that they gave themselves – especially, a gift of time well-spent. Deeper insights, new learnings, a feeling of peace, more reflective or more energized around the issues that matter most to them!

For some it will be the shift to self-management that will interest them in a world where hierarchy and hero leadership still seem to dominate; for others, it will be the primal force of self-organization.

We believe it is time to recognize that we, our organizations, as indeed the entire cosmos – are all self-organizing systems. And rather than viewing these forces as a threat or something to control, we are already experiencing the greater power of self-organization and learning to leverage that power.

Can we be highly productive and peaceful at the same time? Can organizations produce exhilarating performance in peaceful environments?

The 29-year natural experiment that is Open Space Technology (OST) has demonstrated no less than 300,000 times or more, in 146 countries with groups of 5 to 3500 that it is not only possible but predictable and highly probable. We can be hugely productive. We can be peacefully present.

Some people have viewed the results as counterintuitive, unbelievable, and have even called it magic. The results continue; however, the “magic” is not Open Space Technology. Rather it is the force that underlies it – the power of self-organization.

You are invited to experience and learn to apply this age old force of High Performance and Peace as we engage, explore and deepen our understanding around this question:

Will we Learn to Ride the Creative/Chaotic Waves of Self-Organization, unleashing the power of leadership in ourselves and in others?



The Program will unfold over 3 days. 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 World”. 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 The Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance


  Corporate Nonprofit/Individual
January 16-18 (3 days) $750 $500
January 17-18 (2 days) $500 $335
January 18 (1 day) $250 $170

Fees include 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 building global community 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 limited by its perceptions of the possible. The OSI was created to grow that sense of possibility and make it a reality by focusing on: learning, research and practice.


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer