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WOSonOS 2019 Ineffable Theme

Invitation inspired by Harrison Owen's Users Guide to Open Space:

About the theme: Harrison Owen does not claim to have “invented” Open Space technology. He “discovered” Open Space and has since been conducting this grand experiment to share it broadly. The real difficulty is the ineffable nature of this powerful self-organizing (Process, Tool, Method, Philosophy). We do not (cannot) Prescribe Open Space. We can only describe what happens when conditions are right for an “outbreak” of Open Space. When facing Important and complex issues or opportunities, with diversity of people, beliefs, & opinions, potential for conflict, and need for quick resolution, we know that the self organizing power of Open Space moves the participants into appropriate action which culminates into mind blowing results. Open Space always works! We are all always in Open Space, and we already know how to “do it” . . . that’s hard-wired in all of our brains. Circle, Breath, Bulletin Board, and Marketplace - and the expectation of being surprised are fundamental Universal Laws - Like gravity. Through the years, we humans have exerted much effort into the unlearning (Forgetting) of these powerful principles, and we’ve done a magnificent job of creating boundaries and barriers and NOISE , so we can live in order without chaos. We plan, create agendas, command, and control everything and everyone to whatever degree we are able. While this distracts most humans from their awareness of Open Space, Harrison Owen and many thousands of other intrepid consultants and facilitators (and other people with good head and heart) are going about the business of getting real work done . . . in Open Space. When curious on-lookers ask what’s happening, we cannot explain. Open Space is Ineffable, yet Harrison Owen’s mantra has always been “Just Open more Space.” This “Charge” is a call to remember that which has always been present and ineffable, Open Space.

And so our theme, what are the issues and opportunities present in ¿Honoring the Ineffable Spirit of Open Space Technology?, and how do we make them available to our organizations and in our lives? If we are on a Journey, it is a journey without maps except as we make them. This means, among other things, that there are no simple answers, only a lot of questions in the great experiment. Those who expect and require a tightly packed and controlled agenda will be frustrated, and probably should not attend. This is not to suggest that there will be neither content nor outcomes, for indeed there will be both. The experience of content and the achievement of outcomes, however, will be maximally dependent upon the exercise of individual and collective responsibility to see that both occur. The content will be what each person brings, and the outcomes, what we all create. WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN? The honest answer is that we just don't know, except that we propose to create an Open Space in which good thinking, creating, celebrating, and just being together, can occur. Beyond that we have only the expectations we bring from our several lives and the common tradition of the 26 previous World Open Space on Open Space gatherings. Somehow, we will honor the past, acknowledge the present, and anticipate the future. None of this can be accomplished with only dull seriousness. Through it all there will be a sense of High Play in which we can take the difficulties of the moment as the opening to new possibility, joyfully creating useful forms appropriate to an emerging world. The Symposium Design is simple and open. Given the talent that will be there, the design is provided not so much to tell folks what to do and when, but rather to provide a supportive environment in which everyone will be able to do what needs to get done, with a minimum of hassle.

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