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Open Space Technology was discovered by Harrison Owen as a better way to unleash the power of self-organization in teams, organizations, and communities. The Open Space Institute of the United States (OSI-US) believes that inspired behavior can be an everyday experience and that humanity is limited by its perceptions of the possible. The OSI-US was created to grow that sense of possibility and make it a reality by focusing on: learning, research and practice.

Suzanne Daigle: What's so great about Open Space Technology?

Anne Stadler: What's so great about Open Space Technology?

Opening Space at International House January 2016

“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

You are invited to experience and learn to apply the 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.”

Musing from our Membership Meeting

If you want to do a deep dive, the annual membership meeting notes and even the full audio are available. We did not use Open Space Technology, but instead kept to an agenda with wide ranging check-ins followed by two questions: How did OST impact the evolution of your own consciousness? What's happening with world wide open space institutes? And then we closed with check-outs.

What stands out? One board member was not present due to the illness in her family, and two who were present had immanent births upcoming. Several were excited about what was showing up in the Occupy movement, and how it is opening conversations very relevant for Open Space Technology.

For the personal question around consciousness it touched on personal evolution of letting go of control and fixed answers, of opening up to the infinite divine world where prayer, mystics and shamans are comfortable, of synthesizing and going deeper into what we and who we already know, and being a servant leader and a mid-wife. Open Space Technology is life changing, and changes our relationships with ourselves and others. We can see Open Space is, like birth, an event, and yet it is also a philosophy - about taking responsibility for what we love as an act of service. And how Open Space Technology is often a part of a journey that includes and touches on other philosphies and practices, such as Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry, and Transpersonal Psychology, and Gestalt.

Around the question of Open Space Institutes around the world, we had representation for the U.S., U.K., and France. The WOSonOS coming up in 2012 has already been touching on the question of having an Institute in the U.K., but there is no decision to have one as it is unclear what is the purpose and process around these institutes. As a community of practice internationallly, what needs to happen. Should they be called institutes that compare car insurance quotes? The Institute in France dissolved due to power struggles an in part the lack of clarity of the purpose and mission. Yet the OSI-US has managed to succeed by not imposing hiearchy and instead has been a mutually supportive space. And although there is some question about how to do it, it does seem important that we find a way to continue coming together to keep the conversation alive globally and to hold space for open space, despite the legacy we have of divide and conquer that makes it so hard for us to collaborate on coming to solutions that can address what we need.

Open Space 'New Women For New Egypt'

See how Open Space Technology has been used in Egypt after the revolution in the wonderful short video.

Expenses and Activities 2011

Our income in 2011 was $3,350 in donations, $1.19 in interest, and $259.27 in book sales.

Our expenses were $44.64 in PayPal fees, $130.83 in internet domain registration and Skype charges, $10 for the annual filing fee for the non-profit, $1000 for the Access Queen assistance to the World Open Space on Open Space in Chile, $3,250 to Haiti Partners for their Open Space event, and $700 for an in person meeting for the board (all of which was paid for in donations by the board).

If you tallied that up, that was $3,619.46 income, and $5,135.47 expense, with a net $1,525.01 outflow. Our total assets are as of 30 December 2011 equal to $3,771.04.

As for activities this year, we welcomed Barry Owen to the board - bringing our board membership to 10.

Beyond the individual Open Space Technology contributions and involvement of all the board members, which would be interesting but extensive - the board itself has contributed to the maintenance and development of OST with the following activities:

  • Support of world wide Open Space Technology meetings financially through Haiti Partners and Access Queen.
  • Financial support and 501(c)(3) status for free web hosting of the very active world wide OSList's migration from Boise State's ListServ to GNU Mailman.
  • Significant improvements to our web presence at
  • Assistance to the English translation of the beautiful Open Space Learning Map poster.
  • Initial meetings and design of a new logo for the Open Space Institute - U.S.
  • A face to face meeting, with all meal, housing, and travel expenses donated by the board members, held in Sarasota, Florida to connect with each other and renew the mission of the Open Space Institute.

US West Open Space - A True Story

Enjoy this historical video of an Open Space event held at US West in 1995 which helps describe what Open Space is, how it works, and the impact through the lens of some real issues at a real company. Thank you Peggy Holman for making this video available!

U S WEST Open Space from Peggy Holman on Vimeo.


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