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Open Space – An Outstanding Place

Originally posted by Loretta Donovan at the 2006 NCDD Conference…

some Open Space topicsWhat do you say as you end an hour and a half of wonderful, engaging conversation on dozens of compelling topics? A few comments from those who came to the Open Space:

  • As new people came in, to what degree do you bring them up to date?
  • Open Space is the juiciest part of every conference.
  • Would NCDD allow a full day of OS instead of some of the workshops?
  • Be Prepared to Be Surprised – I had a fantastic conversation unrelated to the posted topics.
  • Folks had been suggesting I meet several people. When I entered the space I chose, there they were!
  • The Law of Two Feet kept me from my own conversation.
  • I thought no one would be interested in my topic . . . and 14 people came up to discuss race relations.
  • I am digging Open Space!
  • What would it be like to empower the facilitators of dialogue to take on speaking for themselves, and to invite our peers to reframe their comments in more open and inclusive language?
  • I feel like a have a whole group of friends I didn’t have before.
  • I am local. Don’t go to Fisherman’s Wharf – the food sucks.
  • Setting the rooms up with extra chairs that are available for people to come and go would be inviting.
  • I became so engrossed in a first round session I entered, that I didn’t go to the second session where I had an agenda and issue to pursue.
  • I got a lot more than I needed and expected in a session on spirituality.
  • I love that Open Space, Quaker Meetings and Wikis . . . communicate that we trust you. That turns out to be a barrier since so many of our systems are designed for the least of us, as a means to protect us and prevent us from doing bad things.
  • People have been really nice.

And when it’s over it’s over.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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