Hi Thomas,

Thanks so much for sharing and for your thoughts and questions.  This project 
just sounds really powerful and it’s good to hear how it continues.

I wanted to share a few thoughts from my experience working in communities who 
feel for whatever reason, that 3 hours of Open Space is all they can manage at 
the moment.  I was very leary of doing this as well however I have found that 
in some cases, particularly in communities where people are in a sense 
“volunteering their time” this can be quite powerful.  Some of the things I 
have found are:

1. Repeating the event in the same place (so doing 2 3 hour OST’s in the same 
community/space) is a great way to add depth.  Interestingly the first event 
has often seemed superficial or the phenomenon I have seen is in these first 
events people have put up many topics, then not followed up on them and 
sometimes not even given time to write reports.  Then at the second one, even 
with  many different people, there seems to be a shift to a more concentrated 
and focussed OST with great depth.  I have seen this now several times and been 
fascinated by that phenomenon.    So if at all possible to have 2x in the same 
place that may be useful for getting to the deeper results and actions.

2. I wonder if they can concede to 3hrs and 30 minutes for the event?  I have 
seen that giving an hour for each topic can help both in quality of reporting 
and in quality of discussion, but I have also done events in 3 hours with a 
similar design that you propose and that does work.

Finally, I have been personally really surprised by watching people working in 
very short OST’s in community settings like this.  Often I have had a lot of 
soul searching if I would do it and even if I would call it OST, however my 
clients in several places convinced me that this was indeed something to try.  
I have been deeply surprised at how short events like this, when done fully, 
with prep meetings and the full commitment of the facilitator can bring results 
and depth that blew me away.  I am also aware that in all these cases the OST’s 
were just starting points of more meeting in a similar way and more moments of 
Open Space Technology that grow from it.  So I think your design is really 
powerful in bringing that in especially with the follow-up.

With love,

Doris
On 16 Sep 2016, at 09:36, Thomas Herrmann <tho...@openspaceconsulting.com> 
wrote:

Dear friends in Open Space
I write to share about an exciting project and to ask to have 
feedback/ideas/experiences assisting me to refine/decide on the design I am 
working on.
 
The project is in a neighbouring town of about 35 000 inhabitants. They are 
inviting everyone living there to explore ways to contribute to enhance the 
learning amongst children/youth complementing/supporting what is happening in 
the school. The top politician in the town, responsible for education/schools 
is my sponsor. During the spring I had a couple of meetings with the top 
politicians and managers for the school system. Then we widened the circles and 
had some meetings with other interest parties , to invite more engagement for 
this idea. 
 
We have a plan that includes follow up, to support what is emerging, decide on 
next steps and make sure there is report back to what is happening and not.
 
A couple of  days ago we had our “final” planning meeting getting the theme 
etc. Still working on wording but something like “For the future of our 
children. How do we create conditions for enhanced learning for pupils in our 
community?” Of practical reasons evenings are considered the best options. 
Parents, pupils, teachers, business people, public workers etc etc are all busy 
daytime and weekends are not considered a good option. “Everyone” will be 
invited but it’s hard to say how many will come to each meeting. I guess 
between 10-200 J
Now the plan is to have three 3-hour meetings in three different parts of the 
small community. I have suggested a fourth meeting where all are invited for 
convergence/action planning. There are of course several challenges. I am not 
even sure I will suggest we use OST even though I’d love to. I think a 3-hour 
meeting is the bare minimum for the simplest form of an OST meeting. On the 
other hand I see possibilities for this to be looked at like an OST meeting 
consisting of three occasions á 3 hours + convergence in a fourth meeting for 
another 3 hours… That looks better, ey?
 
There are some opportunities with this:
1.       More time for the divergent process before converging.
2.       People can choose to join several meetings, deepening their thinking
3.       People can get access to more ideas/material from the 3 meetings.
4.       There can be continued conversations online in between meetings and 
approaching meeting nbr 4.
5.       There will be opportunities for people to create joint projects over 
“boundaries” in the community (meeting nbr 4 and online)
 
There are several challenges with this too. 
1.       There will be different people in all of the meetings
a.       There needs to be a proper opening each time
2.       3 hours is very short. My plan: Opening/agenda 45 mts. Session 1 (45 
mts). Session 2 (45 mts). Individual reflection/personal commitment (15 mts). 
Closing 30 mts.
a.       For the actionplanning meeting (meeting nbr 4) I will probably use 
re-opening, after a brief opening and reading reports/reflecting. A couple of 
action planning sessions, 1 minute reportback/group and then closing.
3.       How to bind everything together to one whole
 
So far I lean towards this plan but I would love to hear to your ideas, 
thoughts, experiences and/or suggestions!
All the best
 
Thomas Herrmann
Open Space Consulting AB
www.openspaceconsulting.com <http://www.openspaceconsulting.com/>
You reach us via phone: +46 (0)709 98 97 81 or email: 
tho...@openspaceconsulting.com <mailto:tho...@openspaceconsulting.com>
 
Open Space Consulting is a small company with BIG ambitions to assist leaders 
and organizations as well as local communities to tap into their full power to 
achieve their dreams. We bring practical tools and knowhow to empower you to 
find your way forward.
 
More info
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasherrmannopenspaceconsult 
<https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasherrmannopenspaceconsult>
Facebook Company page: https://www.facebook.com/OpenSpaceConsulting 
<https://www.facebook.com/OpenSpaceConsulting>
 
 

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