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These are the proceedings from meetings of the Open Space Institute.
  • Meeting Date: 26 Jan 2014

    OSI-US Board minutes – January 27, 2014


    5:30pm EST via: Skype video chat



    1.       Linda Stevenson

    2.       Karen Davis

    3.       Suzanne Daigle

    4.       Chuni Li

    5.       Tricia Chirumbole

    6.       Harold Shinsato


    ·         Item closed: Doug has officially ended his term as an active member of the OSI-US board

    o   Dougwill continue to be invited to monthly board calls and can participate as an emeritus member at his discretion.

    o   Suzanne Daigle will produce a certificate to honor Doug for his service – separate item listed on Trello.

    ·         Item closed: Google HRockstars hangout

    o   OSI board members and other in the OS community have been introduced to the HRockstars Google+ community and a number have joined the group.

    o   Suzanne, Harold, and Jasmina have participated in HRockstars “live” online TV shows talking about Open Space,

    ·         Update: Practice of Peace books

    o   OS-US did not go in the red! $85 profit (bulk supply of Twizzlers anyone?)

    o   Shipped 18 boxes, 16 separate orders, 4 international: 2 Sweden, 1 Norway, 1 France.

    o   Distributed ~ 20; 20 boxes in Linda’s garage; recycled ~20 boxes.

    ·         Update: Post-WOSonOS 2013 $ transparency

    o   Did not receive money from Serbia, but Jasmina confirmed that it was remitted.

    o   Harold has not received any information to this effect.

    o   1099s: anything under $600 there is no responsibility to do a 1099

    o   Suzanne will be in touch with Harold regarding WOSonOS financials

    o   Item still open until resolved.

    ·         Board decision: Agreed to provide monetary support from OSI-US funds for Aaron Wasserman’s participation in the recent NYC OS on Peace and High Performance.

    o   Agreed to reimburse Suzanne for her out of pocket support to Aaron, with funds from Serbia, referenced above, when they are received.

    §  Suzanne covered $270 for a flight.

    o   Rationale: Consider Aaron as a representative of large cohort groups – young people/students – that has demonstrated interest in learning about and practicing Open Space.

    §  St. Petersburg students, of which Aaron is a part, have a critical mass. Now the University has hired consultants to use Open Space for other purposes – students have the edge as they have previous experience.

    §  This is in line with the OSI-US mission, but extends beyond the historical support of international groups.

    ·         Update & Item closed: On-boarding new OSI-US board members

    o   Chuni Li attached a new document to the board’s Trello space as a reference for on-boarding – it is based on an Art of Hosting document.

    o   New members, Linda Stevenson and Tricia Chirumbole, agree with Chuni that the item has been adequately addressed and should be considered done until a new member comes on board.

    ·         New item: Harold Shinsato proposes that the board “adopt” the annual NYC Peace and High Performance Open Space as an OSI-US event.

    o   Harold volunteers to facilitate these efforts

    o   OSI-US will not take on financial responsibility or risk for the event

    o   The work done to support the Peace and High performance OS, can be extended to other Open Space on Open Space events, Open Space trainings, or other “public offering” Open Spaces.

    §  Details on eligibility pending – not yet listed on Trello.

    o   Efforts may include: establishing some easy to reuse/replicate processes, such as: online registration process, online payment transaction; and possibly a platform for tying together books of proceedings.

    §  Could possibly host on an “OSonOS” URL that someone established.

    o   The board may participate in other ways such as outreach and marketing

    o   Mention the possibility of tapping into Access Queen funds – item left open, not formally recorded on trello as a “doing” or “bin” item – note take uncertain as to intent.

    o   Board can consider how they can coach or support people in organizing events cheaply or for free by providing: website, page on website, coaching to do registration and how to use eventbrite, even use google+ newsroom.

    ·         Offshoot discussion: Ms. Song – China – trained 7000 OS facilitators, at a rate of 700/year

    o   Ms. Song thought that OS was a big thing in America

    o   Chinese government are reaching out to assimilate governance principles of OS

    o   Train community developers, NGOs, etc. – we can do that as well.

    ·         Update: Closing OSi-US online bookstore

    o   Harold doesn’t have more information to support this decision

    o   Karen has been in touch with Dave re: the OS bookstore – hopefully she will have information for the next meeting.

    ·         New board member proposal: Propose exploring onboarding new members that may have momentum. 

    o   The board members concur that it would be great to explore new interested parties for the board

    o   It is proposed that we consider some form of agreement or expectation setting with prospective board members regarding a minimum level of attendance at board meetings. Decide to explore further next time.

    ·         Next meeting: Monday, February 17 – 5:30pm, via skype


  • Meeting Date: 15 Dec 2013

    5:30pm EST via: Skype video chat

    Participants:   Harold Shinsato, Linda Stevenson, Tricia Chirumbole, Douglas Germann, Karen Davis


    1.       Quick review of our Financials by Harold

    · Seems that we have about $1700 in Paypal and $3000 in our checking totaling over $4000

    · Some of this money is from the sale of the Practice of Peace books – we will only know later how the numbers will come out. The books were sold almost at cost (covering shipping and handling) with only a very small portion possibly coming back to the board.

    2.       Money outstanding coming in from Serbia.  We are still struggling with the bank issues and coordinating with the University of Belgrade. Payment is for training and attendance from 2013 totaling $850. This will be a donation to OSI US from Suzanne who was hosting – a quid pro quo contribution with the University of South Florida.  A tax receipt will be provided to Suzanne once this money is received.  

    3.       Karen Davis talks about upcoming Open Space at International House.  Suzanne will be extending personal invitations to a number of people. We discuss who might be interested to attend.

    4.       On the Open Space Website, it appears that the dates for WOSonOS 2014 are not accurate. Harold will follow-up

    5.       Tricia describes new fund-raising ideas for OSI US beyond our annual ask letter. She will be sending ideas and suggestions of items that people could purchase with our OSI – US logo on it – memorabilia of sorts that OSI members might enjoy. She is working with a company that specializes in this—it would not be the intent for OSI –US to carry inventory. It would be self-organized with a small amount coming back to OSI-US per purchase.

    6.       On-line book store closing
    Harold initiates a conversation to inform us of that. Suzanne was unaware it even existed. Harold has been trying to get some inventory numbers. We all agree that we don’t want to be in the book business however as was the case with the Practice of Peace books, we would not want to lose precious books or materials.  Karen will be following up based on her personal relationship with one of the principals. It is anticipated that all will be closed by year-end.

    Next meeting scheduled for January 21st one day later than our normal 3rd Monday of the month because of the International House Open Space that weekend.


  • Meeting Date: 20 Oct 2013

    Participants: Harold, Suzanne, Chuni, Linda, Karen, Jasmina, Doug, and Tricia

    Check – in

    Bin Gardening (choosing items to discuss)– Harold

    Discussion Topics:

    • Post-WOSonOS 2013 Reporting  - Harold informs us that everything seems complete except:

    -   Just missing money from USFSP + 1 outstanding payment for training/participant fee from Serbia (seems it’s been a banking glitch)

    -   Action:  Suzanne to contact USF SP and Jasmina to sort out the issue with the University of Belgrade

    •  Practice of Peace books – Linda reports that a few boxes have been sold; we will continue until the end of the year. It is suggested that we advertise this on the Open Space Linked-in, Ning and Facebook. The cost is a little higher than expected but we are still making a few dollars. 1 box was sent overseas.  

      Action:  Harold will handle the social media above

    • On-Board new Members – Chuni updated the Word document that she initially prepared. She is having one on one conversations with Board members and is finding it very helpful.  Harold would like to see a link that looks like a Wiki page to send to new members. Tricia comments that what Chuni has put together is very helpful.  Harold mentions that for on-boarding we should continue in the spirit of Open Space with a very light-weight process.-  

      Action: Chuni will continue her one-on-one discussions with Board members

    • Harold creates an Obsolete Lane on Trello for items where there has been no action for a long time.
    • Meeting of the Institutes – Harold and Karen indicate they will work together with the idea of having a November meeting. Chuni asks about if there will be an opportunity for translation to accommodate those who speak different languages. A suggestion is made that participants could have the opportunity to participate in Spanish as we are increasingly seeing members and groups from South America and Mexico in addition to Spain.
    • Harold is cleaning up the membership list
    • A resolution is created regarding by-laws around our board membership. We agree to modify the language to say that the Board should have a minimum of 5 members; no maximum will be specified. All agree. Quorum vote achieved.
    • Clean-up of Wikipedia – Harold has done a lot of work and was able to get rid of many warnings. There is some discussion by the group about the challenges of writing language that fits within the parameters of Wikipedia based on whether people view Open Space as a process or a philosophy. Harold mentions that the Wikipedia Scrum is a good model to follow if we want to further appears in the Open Space Technology Wikipedia. We have a lengthy discussion about the various interpretations and that to really capture in language the full essence of self-organizing of Open Space for example, could take a few years.
    • Jasmina mentions that on the Open page the dates for WOSonOS in Serbia are not accurate

      Action: Jasmina to contact Michael Herman by email to have this corrected.

    • Next meeting: Scheduled for November 18, 2013
  • Meeting Date: 16 Sep 2013

    Participants: Chuni,Doug, Harold,Jasmina,Karen, Linda, Suzanne, Tricia 


    ·         Check-in

    ·         Review Bin


    Items Discussed

    ·         On-boarding new board members:

    o   Discuss Chuni’s list of questions about how to on-board members

    o   Conveying Mission? – It is on the website and gets sent to new members in an email

    o   Check-in Process/Check-out during board calls – why and how?: anywhere to find this information?

    §  Not written anywhere, would have to reach out to old board members – curious about the origin and the theory

    §  Purpose of check out: whatever happens is what happens, used as a way for people to say what they haven’t been able to say, talk about how they feel about how session went, etc., many purposes.

    §  Action: Karen will work with Chuni on the side to work on something to convey to new members

    §  Linda would like to have a new member orientation

    §  Action: Linda and Tricia – new members – will talk with Chuni to provide suggestions

    § is where minutes are located

    ·         Completed the OS board elections with a unanimous vote

    o   President: Suzanne Daigle will remain as President

    o   Vice President: Tricia Chirumbole will become the new VP

    o   Secretary: Chuni Li will become the new Secretary

    o   Treasurer: Harold Shintado will remain as Treasurer

    ·         Received an update from Harold and Suzanne on WOSonOS 2013 reporting and transparency

    ·         Annual Ask-Give Letter

    o   Action: Decided to add more items to the letter via google docs

    §  Discussion about privacy of using Google

    §  Will include in note support of OSers in Haiti

    ·         Discussed Practice of Peace book distribution

    o   Deal: Box of 34 books - $25: $15 to ship, $10 for handling ; internationally: $120

    §  Small discount for more boxes, but not much

    §  67 boxes available overall

    o   ACTION: Linda will be willing to handle the paperwork of orders, conveying to warehouse, and paying for books

    o   ACTION:Set up a paypal button for people who want to buy, appropriate for the institute to get a little income from this.

    o   Still paying $50/month as long as books are with Innovative Office Solutions

    o   Agree to provide books at cost for Jasmina in preparation for WOSonOS 2014

    o   Give people to the end of the year to buy books, small margin for OSI-US

    ·         OS deep dives

    o   ACTION: Tricia reported that she planned to announce the deep dive with the OS hotline skype the next day and present the deep dive spreadsheet with a few example topics added by Tricia, but none of the OSI board topics.

    §  No objections

    ·         Doug Germann reports that he will resign from the board, effective at the end of 2013.


    Next Meeting:

    ·         Oct 21st 5:30pm EDT – plan on using skype with video

    o   conference line as a backup plan




    1.      Karen will work with Chuni on the side to work on something to convey to new board members

    2.      Linda and Tricia– new members – will talk with Chuni to provide suggestions for onboarding

    3.      All members: can add items to the Annual Ask-Give letter via google docs

    o   Include information about support of OSers in Haiti

    4.      Linda will handle the paperwork of orders for Practice of Peace, convey to warehouse, and handle payments.

    5.      Harold will set up a paypal button for people who want to buy, appropriate for the institute to get a little income from this.

    6.      Tricia will announce the deep dive with the OS hotline skype and present the deep dive spreadsheet with a few example topics added by Tricia, but none of the OSI board topics.



  • Meeting Date: 12 Jul 2013

    OSI-US - Board Meeting

    In attendance: Suzanne, David O'Neill, Harold Shinsato, Doug Germann, Tricia Chirumbole, Karen Davis

    Bin - In Progress

    WOSonOS Reporting - About $330 deficit. 1020 went to Access Queen. Gave 600 to Aaron, Katie, and Marilyn. Honor the partner donors. Equivalent of $14,000. A lot of training for no fee for many people, including the money we contributed for the people from Haiti. As part of the budget - covered expenses for some people like Devon. $26,050.

    Crowdvine for the sustainability. $450. SCIONS. They established a brand new scholarship for 3 young community leaders ($150 for each). Even the people did the catering, 10% reduction. And Devon offered training to 5. $1299 training cost for each. Tangible and untangible.

    USFSP provided facilities and staff that were working. The Bishop Center had advanced a little over $4,000 and if we had had more people, part of the profits they would have received. These are rented facilities to the public for a certain number. Out of the budget at the end, Bishop Center thought they would have to cover $3000. It was over time. We were able to give them $1020 back.

    Doug - I think you've done wonderfully here. A loss of $373 is a breakeven. For you to do that on the heels of London where they had thousands of pounds loss - you did wonderfully. You are to be congratulated for your faith and to keep pushing things through.

    Suzanne - I'll echo back I never could have know how important you on the board were for this. The partnership such a sense of security. It is a heavy responsibility to manage everyone's money. You do want there to be great transparency. They truly were our partners in this. Happy for what we accomplished and the future.

    We had our breakdown and breakthrough.

    On Boarding New Members - Chuni - out reach to new board members about what they need. Chuni has written a list. Suzanne will follow up with her. Harold would like to get the final document and put it up on the website.

    Resolution for size of Board to accommodate new members - Don't know if we've ever adopted a resolution on this. 7 people on the call. Chuni, Phelim, Ed, Sharon Joy, Linda.

    Set it at a maximum of 15.

    Research Why Open Space works

    Integrating Agile/Scrum

  • Meeting Date: 16 Jun 2013

    June, 2013 Board Notes


    Meeting held June 17, 2013:

    Present: Suzanne, David, Doug, Harold, Tricia, Karen, Jasmina.

    1.5 minutes of silence.


    Conversation was had around the finances for WOSonOS in Florida. OSI-US served as fiscal agent, collecting funds and disbursing as needed. Final figures will take a while to complete, and at this time it looks to be pretty much of a break even for the host team. There were large contributions in kind from the University of South Florida, by Lisa Heft and Diane Gibault and Suzanne Daigle, and many others.

    Conversation was had around whether to adopt a board resolution fixing the board size at 15 in accord with the Bylaws. No action was taken.

    Annual Ask letter was the next subject of conversation. Suzanne volunteered to take a look at the letter a few weeks from now. One suggestion was that in addition to reporting what we have done, to also include our intentions.

    One of the prospective board members reflected that this meeting was a lot of housekeeping and that it would be nice to hear about priorities for the next year or two. There ensued a conversation about some things we wanted to do: bring OS to underserved communities; help with Ning support and blend that and OSlist together; consider the future of OS beyond HO. Tricia offered to convene a small group consideration of one or more things in our "Things to Consider" Bin. Jasmina suggested researching why OST works, and how to integrate Scrum and Agile into OST.

    The next meeting is July 15.

    The meeting concluded with checkouts.

    Notes prepared by Doug.


  • Meeting Date: 20 May 2013

    The Board of the Open Space Institute met face to face the day after the World Open Space on Open Space, 2013, at the home of Suzanne Daigle.

    In attendance- Suzanne Daigle, Harold Shinsato, Chuni Li, Douglas Germann

    We generated an agenda of the following items which were combined - and dot voted. The number of *'s indicates the number of votes.

    • ****Board Membership Invite Process - Harold&Karen / How to On Board Members - Chuni
    • ***Open Space Manifest-ing - Harold
    • **Create financial Value Add Sustainability for OST Work - Suzanne
    • **Supporting WOSonOS 2014, '15, '15, etc. - Harold
    • **How to Break Through Universities? - Chuni
    • **Use Scrum LeanKit for Transparency & Shared Learning on OUR OSI-US Projects - Suzanne
    • *English Imperialism - Harold
    • *Post WOSonOS Reporting $, Transparency - Suzanne
    • *Annual Ask Letter - Harold
    • Bigger Vision Big Inclusion World Wide - Suzanne / OSI Elevator Speech - Harold
    • Ongoing Groups (Open Space Institutes) World Wide - Karen
    • Supporting USFSP Students (especially Aaron) for Online OSonOS - Harold
    • OST Wikipedia Cleanup - Harold
    • Moving Into Deeper Open Space "WE" - Harold
    • OSList + NING - evolve unified experience - Harold
    • Much Much Better Website - Harold / Website OS Multiple Audience Appeal - Suzanne
    • Consciousness tapping "Higher" levels & wisdom as board, as OS community, as world, as ... "Multiple ways of knowing" - Karen
    • Imaginal Cells - Butterflies - Harold
    • How to Hold Space for Open Space? - Harold
    • Supporting Personal Practice - Harold
    • Open Space Institutes a Joke (Chaos/Order)? - Harold
    • Edge Walking Sisters/Brothers - Doug / Scrum-Agile-Kanban Alliance with Open Space - Suzanne / Effectively Integrate Scrum/Agile into OST - Chuni
    • Technology & OS Conversations liek David & Tricia - Suzanne
    • OS(T) Future without Harrison Owen - Karen
    • Open Space Elders, History, Library Archives - Harold
    • Board Bailiwiks - Doug
    • Invite Worker Bee Guests on Work Projects - Recognition - Suzanne
    • "Recognition" of OS members for - Karen
  • Meeting Date: 14 Apr 2013

    Present: Suzanne, Karen, Doug, Harold, Chuni

    Start time 5:30 pm EDT

    Started with 2 minutes of silence, followed by checkins.

    Harold facilitated the meeting and was Bin Gardener; Doug took notes.

    The Board unanimously voted for, invited, and welcomed Linda Stevenson as our newest board member.

    The Treasurer reported that we have approximately $9,351.75 + 607.06 in our treasury, of which we owe the 2013 WOSonOS team approximately $5,897.72, leaving us with a net treasury of about $4,061.09.

    The Board examined and considered a request from Haiti Partners to assist three of its OST practitioners to attend this year's WOSonOS in Florida. The Board agreed to provide funding to Haiti Partners of $1,500.00 for the purpose of helping one or more to attend.

    The Treasurer reported some glitches with Bank of America getting pass through funds to reimburse Suzanne Daigle and Diane Gibeault for their efforts for a training. The Treasurer will continue to work on this.

    The Board meeting in Florida will be somewhere in the St. Pete environs, at a place to be determined by our President.

    The official annual membership meeting will be held sometime during WOSonOS, at a session to be hosted by our Treasurer. In advance of this Harold will prepare our annual letter to members, requesting donations and inviting people to the annual meeting.

    The meeting concluded with a lively conversation around the infrastructure for OST and ways to spread OST, with an emphasis on technological means.

    End time: 7:30 pm EDT.

  • Meeting Date: 15 Jul 2012

     Open Space Institute – US (OSI-US)

    Meeting July 16, 2012 – 5:30 to 6:35 EST

    Attending:  Douglas Germann, Karen Davis, Suzanne Daigle, Chuni Li and Sharon Joy Chao

    Note taker: Suzanne Daigle

    The meeting then began with a few moments of silence followed by brief individual check-ins.

    The group reviewed items in the bin and focused on the following items:

    1.       Annual legal filingas a non-profit entity filing will be done by Suzanne Daigle; Peggy Holman will provide a note authorizing her to file in the State of Washington where we are incorporated.  The Board also authorized Suzanne to complete this filing on behalf of the board. This will be completed by July 20th 2012 to meeting the end of July deadline. The treasurer will reimburse Suzanne for the $10 annual fee.

    2.       Access to OSI Site for New Board Members: A bin item was added requesting  that Phelim give access to Chuni and Sharon to our Basecamp Board site;  another request was added asking if Harold could update the OSI US website with the names of the new Board members and changes at the executive level.

    3.       Guidelines on the Minutes: A brief discussion took place regarding the minutes of our meeting and how detailed they should be. Doug and Karen provided a bit of history and context to this topic while specifying that the past need not dictate the future. It was agreed that items of a personal nature such as what gets discussed during the individual check-ins at the start of our meeting (more related to relationship building) would not be included.  Typical meeting minutes will serve to document highlights, decisions, progress on projects and on occasion a summary of detailed discussions based on relevance and interest to our broader public community.  If certain items are considered to be more personal in nature while also relevant, the practice would be to review with members prior to posting.

    4.       Future projects: A brief discussion took place for us to open space at a future OSI US meeting to identify projects that we may be passionate about and where we want to focus our attention in the upcoming year.  As has been the practice, projects will always tie to what individuals may have an interest in or be energized by.  

    ·         In the past, Christine Whitney Sanchez led discussions with Suzanne and Ed around the topic of providing information to corporate and government groups who want to know more about Open Space described in a language that is familiar to them with a focus on outcomes and typical results from the Open Space Technology process.  The goal had been to make something available on the Open Space website that clients from these cohort groups could refer to.  Chuni mentions that business groups typically look for results-oriented concise language.  This remains a topic of interest to be pursued.

    ·         Karen indicated energy around an initiative that would invite dialogue among the various Open Space Institutes around the world. This too will be a focus during the upcoming year.

    ·         Suzanne expressed a keen interest for OSI US to consider hosting informal conversations similar to what was done at our General Annual meeting at the end of 2011.  We would plan to experiment with Maestro Conference using Suzanne’s account building on a model that was used by Suzanne and Elaine Hansen on a virtual Open Space experiment around Brené Brown’s work called The Global Conversation.

    The next meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2012 - third Monday of the month (starting at 5:30 pm EST)


  • Meeting Date: 18 Jun 2012

     Open Space Institute – US (OSI-US)

    Meeting June 18, 2012 – 5:30 to 6:45 EST

    Attending:  Peggy Holman, Christine Whitney Sanchez, Harold Shinsato, Douglas Germann, Karen Davis, Ed Laboy, Suzanne Daigle, Chuni Li and Sharon Joy Chao

    Primary Note Taker:  Harold (assisted by Suzanne)

    OSI - Special invitation had been extended to our Emeritus Board members Peggy, Christine and Lisa with a message that they would always have a standing invitation to attend our regular meeting and retreats.
    We also wished a warm welcome to our new Board members Chuni Li of New Jersey and Sharon Joy Chao of Manila in the Philippines.

    The meeting then began with a moment of silence and our habitual check-ins.

    The group then took the opportunity to share on the following question as a way of getting to know each other through this transition on the board and to capture a bit of the history:

    “How did open space come into your lives?”

    Doug - I ran into it when I was program chair for a statewide organization.  The speakers for the upcoming month had to cancel because of a family emergency.  I had heard from someone that there was a weird way to have a meeting with no agenda.  Thought it would be a good thing and found it was called Open Space Technology.  I was given several documents via email about it and got him in touch with Michael Hermann and there was a guy named Albert in Indianapolis where his meeting was going to be held. When I read the Users’ Guide, why wouldn't it work? Why would anyone see it otherwise?  I had done circle work in different organizations and found it to be quite effective. And found it to be a natural thing. I did my first city-wide thing on the anniversary of 9/11.  That would have been 2001-2002 when I really found it and attended a whole bunch of different places and thought it was the way we should organize everything from cities and towns.  It turned my  life inside out.  I really enjoyed it. Doug then asks a question of Peggy:  “When you started this thing (Open Space Institute), where did you think you would be in 2012 with this organization?”

    Peggy – Regarding the formation of the OSI:  I ran into open space in 1993/94 doing some work with USWest around the question:  “What does it mean to be a learning organization?”  Peter Senge's book had just come out a year or two before. I was an internal consultant tasked with finding what was the leading edge of learning organizations and bring these insights into the company.  Until then I had been involved in the area of quality. I talked to a friend of mine in Denver about the Organization Systems Program in Antioch in Seattle. She said “You might be interested in this thing that we just did in school.” She referred me to a three-page article in the Training magazine.  I picked up the phone and called Harrison.  I talked to him about doing an Open Space Meeting on the subject of learning - one of the first Open Space meetings was done in Goa India around the topic of business learning.  So we started talking about the possibility of doing Open Space at US West. In the meantime, one of the business units had a flood in Arizona. Someone at US West who was Union and doing OD kinds of stuff and working with management in AZ on major outages had convinced the company to use Open Space.  I went to a workshop in New York and experienced my first Open Space. I ran a 2.5 Open Space with 200 network technicians. I saw that the needs of individuals and the organization could both be met. I had to learn more. It profoundly changed what I did. I realized I didn't have to take responsibility for others experience.  It changed the way I worked. That was about 1994.  Somewhere in the summer of 1996, Harrison was on one of his world tours as a book came out and he came to Seattle. There were about 10 of us in a meeting. Harrison had stopped in Toronto on his way and Seattle was his next stop. He proposed the Open Space Institute as a research institute to help clarify the efficacy of OST, this “strange thing”.  In essence, he wanted to make the research case, to make the case to tell its story. He had done the same thing in Toronto so these two different groups (Canada and US) declared the Open Space Institute alive and well.  We decided to create a 501(c)(3). The cost was about $700.  We each put in $70 and that was the seed money to start the Institute. It took a different direction than what Harrison had envisioned it being a research organization. The last OSonOS that Harrison hosted, the 3rd being in Washington D.C.  There was also Australia with Brian Bainbridge. We had 3 Institutes (Canada, US and Australia). And we did an Open Space on what we wanted from an Open Space Institute. Three things emerged: People said they wanted mentoring and being mentored. It would also be a place for learning and researching and offering mutual support and connectedness.  I wanted a place to send my friends to –a hearth fire. As the idea of an Institute, I always thought of it as having potential energy with the capacity as a tiny placeholder that could involve thousands of people around the world. There was a need to unleash all that potential energy. Back in the beginnings when we were forming, I didn't think that far out (in answer to Doug’s question) , but I  did imagine that we would have members actively engaged and this being a place for sharing stories, for spreading the understanding about Open Space, and frankly doing research - which was something we never managed to get launched.

    Christine - I discovered open space through girls’ clubs many years before I discovered the actual form of Open Space. I was trying Open Structure and in grad schools had lots of things to choose from. As I was mulling around trying things, I did not know self-organization back then, saw a pilot program called self-structure. We created a few givens for the kids and they structured their own program. I was in a group counseling class. I got my husband involved.  It was some time after that I discovered the form of Open Space. At an OD meeting, I heard people making comments about an Open Space type thing. I was curious, got the book and two weeks later, I facilitated my first open space. It was 1997.

    Harold – My first open space like experience was the rainbow gathering in 1996, and I go regularly. The Rainbow Gathering started in 1972 as a peace gathering after Woodstock for folks who wanted to be for peace rather than against war. It was a music festival with 25 to 30,000 people. It's self-organizing with no formal leadership, and the event just comes together with many diverse elements to pray for peace. I then heard about something inspired by Harrison Owen. I had been interested in meetings not constrained by hierarchy (Bar Camp and UnConference). I first was exposed to the ideas of Harrison Owen indirectly through the technology world when I heard about FooCamp and then BarCamp. At the 2006 JavaOne conference in San Francisco, there was an unconference track that Kaliya Hamlin was hired to lead, and Kaliya told me the real thing was Open Space Technology. She invited me to her Internet Identity Workshop, where she introduced me to Lisa Heft who dazzled me with her slides and stories of open space around the world, including Israelis and Palestinians. It blew me away! That led me to take her workshop a few months later, and then to hold my first open space for my work colleagues in San Jose at Business Objects in 2007, and then five annual Missoula BarCamp's since then. I have since attended many OS meetings in the technology world. Also participated in Peggy’s “Journalism Matters”; I saw how the format can be spiced up with a bit more structure. I keep falling in love with Open Space more and more.  I met Harrison in Seattle at the Leadership in a Self-Organizing World event. It’s where I first met Peggy and Suzanne and other world class facilitators. There is something ancient, organic about Open Space. It works well for emergence. I saw that with high tech. It has been wonderful watching the leadership evolved in the high tech world. Later I was invited to join the board. I found the group to be so human, to see that something so amazing is being held by mortals, to see people doing this work and seeing how beautiful it is much like poetry, science and spirit. It's been a life changing experience and I hope to live more and more in Open Space.

    Karen –For me, it’s as if I was in Open Space from the time I came out of the womb. It was some point in the early 80's that I invited Harrison to present at an OD network regional event.  I don't remember the topic.  It was when he was thinking about other ways of organizing conferences and doing things. He was planning to do something in Tarrytown  around organizational transformational. I knew that is where I was supposed to be. There was something about martinis and coffee breaks. 

    In the 90's with Harrison and Devorah Gilbert we hosted our first Open Space four day program for facilitating OS.  One of my colleagues commented then that there was some theory behind the way that I functioned. There was some rationale now, a model. (in others words meaning that Karen has been living Open Space throughout her life).Anyway she's been involved forever and always will be. For her it was a gradual and progressive thing. I became more and more convinced about Open Space even if it's not called OST, convinced about leaders/non-leadersholding space for people, with people taking responsibility and acting on what they care about. That’s what Open Space is about

    Suzanne - I was introduced at an Art of Hosting event in Florida. It was just a little sampling. It’s what triggered me to know more and to get to understand this. I attended  Open Space training in Ottawa with Diane Gibeault.  I invited two colleagues from our company NuFocus to come with me.  I immediately saw how powerful the process was. It brought everything that I had been about all my life together.  I could trace it back to my corporate life wanting all the voices in an organization to be heard, to bring the human side to work, to bring a quality vulnerability to leadership. Suddenly there was a structure and a container for this way of engaging – that was permeable with the right principles. I cannot ever get enough; it has introduced lifelong learning and I feel as if a beginning painter with a craft of which I will never tire. It took me along all kinds of trails. I went to a WOSonOS  in Taiwan and  from there, I threw caution to the wind. I had never been that impulsive in the past. It began my journey in Open Space. I see such potential in so many areas. It is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

    Ed – I was introduced to Open Space through a business partner who attended an open space meeting that Karen and Harrison had back in early 2000. His partner kept talking about it. At the time, they were working with a department in the government around homeless services.  There were major issues and they decided to use Open Space.  At the time, Ed was thinking: “Let’s see what will happen here”.   The commissioner, who was part of this meeting along with 200 other people from 9 different government agencies, wanted to control everything.  The goal was to come up with a way to best economically handle and assist the homeless. I was amazed and surprised. This was in 2002 or 2003 and each person came up with 2 to 3 basic solutions, many of which are still working today. It was so amazing to have so many different stakeholders, each with their own agenda, come up with a working solution that they developed it in just 2 days, all saying that they can do this. I realized then that this was something I wanted to be involved in. A few years later Doug called me and invited me to be on the board. I have been on the board ever since. It’s still like magic to me now. “How can you get so many different people in a room with different perspectives who are able to quickly work out something for the future of their organization. Open Space is the only thing that happens that way. I am an Open Space person the rest of my life.

    Sharon - I have appreciative inquiry to thank for it. I found my way to OST through Appreciative Inquiry. I was doing research work, evaluating projects in 2009 in the Philippines. I thought then that there has to be other things that I could use in the Public Schools to evaluate performance. Did some research work and that's when I found Open Space. As I went through some of the materials, I thought that’s weird and it can't be real. It is beyond me. They self-organize.  There is no agenda. Then there was this opportunity in 2009: a WOSonOS in Taiwan just a couple hours from Manila. I felt called to attend. I got to meet Gail West. She has been my mentor in Open Space and a dear friend ever since. After WOSonOS, I tried on a number of OST gatherings in the company, with some religious groups, with people who have disabilities and also organizing communities who were displaced by typhoons. Then in 2010, my office got approval to do an international conference. We made use of OST and it was incredible. Harrison Owen attended. This international organization had been very stiff in the way it managed meetings before. Then here comes Open Space, which asks them to loosen up a bit and just be themselves. Before the conference, one person came up with a 15-page critique of Open Space and somehow Harrison got a hold of that paper. He felt that this guy must have his reasons for writing this 15 page paper. That started the conversation which happened late last year. Somehow we were able to get him to come to Manila for this conference about Learning for the Future.  It helped take the issue to the next level around the question of: “How do we move forward, tackling the issue of Learning for the Future. Harrison said this should become an annual gathering. I don't know. I hope with God's grace we will be able to do it again next year. In the future, we could also include other from outside the Philippines to get a sense of what is the future of learning and also to get more young people involved in the conversation. Sharon shares that the spiritual quest in her life is a practice of emptiness which is in alignment with that practice that we do in Open Space. Letting things be so that possibilities can unfold in our lives. I agree that Open Space is magic.

    Chuni - I think I learned about it initially on a Maestro call that Christine was hosting. Harrison was a guest speaker. I was fascinated by the way they interviewed him. He was iconic. I then became fascinated by everything that he wrote about. I thought to myself: “This guy is interesting.  It’s very relevant to what we're doing here” A couple of days later, I came up to OST in NYC. We are a non-profit have no money. Karen said whatever you can pay you can come. I came and it’s where I met Harrison and Suzanne. At that meeting, I was totally shocked that for 20 years as a facilitator I had been leading the wrong way.  As I read Harrison’s book and saw what had been done at ATT, I was amazed that I had never heard of Open Space. I kept thinking why I had not heard about it while I was at ATT. I was in a different department. We had never talked about it. At the session in New York with Karen and Harrison, I walked up to Harrison and said: “Everything you are teaching here is telling me that everything I have done in my career was all wrong.” That triggered Harrison and we talked about this. Later I was introduced to Suzanne, which led to a partnership in New Jersey on revitalizing the economy. I had wanted to do more community-based work. Open Space became a natural vehicle to meaningfully engage with my community. It brings people together. I came to OD from back door. I have a degree in Education, but my work has always been as an OD person. No I know I will be an Open Space person for the rest of my life too.

    The bin -
    Annual filing - requires a Washington state address for registrar and corporate address. Suzanne will complete the form and Peggy will remain at the main contact.

    The next meeting is scheduled for July 16 - third Monday of the month (starting at 5:30 pm EST)



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