Submitted by Barbara Markoff October 1993
Imagine a long rectangular room with only chairs around the perimeter. Attached on one long wall is plain poster paper and in the middle of the room is a small table covered with notepaper, markers and tape.
A meeting has been called and soon everyone files in and takes a seat. Often people are feeling a bit nervous about the lack of structure or skeptical about whether this is going to be worth anyone’s time. The leader of the organization welcomes everyone, states why this event is occurring and encourages broad participation. Absent is any statement about expected outcomes. Then the facilitator moves into the center of the room and gives the instructions that are to shape the next one to four days.
We are talking about a new meeting methodology called “Open Space.” It is an alternative to the typical meeting or conference for which the agenda has been painstakingly laid out, often months in advance. With “Open Space,” the actual agenda is developed on site with all the participants creating it “just in time.” The only advance planning an event such as this requires is setting a meeting or conference time, inviting the right people to come and arranging the logistics.
Harrision H. Owen, the originator of “Open Space,” credits part of the idea for this methodology from his frequent observation at conferences. Owen found the most creative and often spirit-filled time was during coffee breaks and between sessions. He decided to experiment with designing conferences that could produce the good, intense interaction that occurs during a coffee break, while achieving the output and performance that results from a meeting.
The entire conference agenda can be created within one hour even if there are 400 or more people attending. Participants are invited to think of a topic or issue that relates to the conference theme that he or she is interested in initiating. The issue is given a title, recorded on a piece of paper, announced and then attached to the wall. The posted topics are arranged in immediate, late morning, and afternoon time slots and are given locations by the volunteer convener. Then the participants are invited, en masse, to come to the “village marketplace” to sign up for the session they wish to attend.
It has been said, “Structure happens.” What may seem like a chaotic process soon transforms into a fluid structure. People negotiate with conveners if there are simultaneous sessions they wish to attend and new sessions are added throughout the event as new ideas occur to people. There may be personal computers available on site for the recording and printing of notes so they can be posted for the benefit of the whole community.
While some management systems are designed to boost productivity by reorganizing and controlling, this process edges on chaos, promoting it as a potent, creative force. “Open Space” is a bit like the “Stone Soup Story.” The minimal guidance offered is like the rock in a pot of water; everyone offers their ideas to the soup and in the end the group is well fed.
“Open Space” technology is effective when real learning and innovation are required and using familiar methods will not likely spur that result. It would assist any organization that knows it needs to make some fundamental changes, but is unsure about the direction in which to go or how to get there.
Who would agree with this assertion? Major corporations, government organizations and communities on five continents have used this innovative approach from polymer chemists at DuPont to the U.S. Forest Service. Most were highly skeptical that the approach would “work for them” and were surprised and delighted when they saw the results. Many now use “Open Space" for many of their meetings.
You cannot do much better than convene such an event with almost no planning time and expense, and walk out with pages of ideas and plans to a highly motivated group.
OPEN SPACE can help engage learners, but why would I use this method instead of another?
Open Space is a combination of order and chaos that brings together people who are really interested in exploring something they care deeply about.
Please join your peers for this special event to experience Open Space on October 29 – 30 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education downtown. Register today!
Early Bird Registration Extended!
Did you miss the Early Bird Registration for the chapter special event, “Engage Learners using Whole Brain Thinking and Open Space Technology?” You’re in luck!!! The Early Bird registration period has been extended to Friday, October 2nd. Register now and save!
Special Event Focus—Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI Assessment
Whole Brain® Thinking
Chances are you are familiar with the concept of “left brain/right brain.” Whole Brain® Thinking stretches that concept further and focuses on showing people how to use their whole brain. There are notable benefits to applying Whole Brain® Thinking since understanding how the brain works helps impact learning outcomes. As learning professionals, we can then reach our learners by understanding different learning styles that make the learning experiences stick! Whole Brain® Thinking can make organizations more effective as it can bridge gaps between functions, levels, and generations within an organization.
Our presenter for this portion of the event is nationally renowned expert and author, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi. Click here to read more about Whole Brain® Thinking.
Your event registration includes the HBDI®Assessment!!
Special event participants will be able to take the HBDI® (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) assessment. This is included in your registration fees and is a tremendous value. The HBDI assessment is 120 questions that define and describes someone’s thinking preferences against the Whole Brain® model. This assessment will help you understand where you are in the Whole Brain® model as well as how you can interact with others in different areas of the Whole Brain® spectrum. We are thrilled to offer the HBDI® as part of “Engage Learners using Whole Brain Thinking and Open Space Technology.”
Meet our Presenter! Happy Hour Social
We are pleased to offer a Happy Hour Social at the end of our October 29th session from 4:45 to 6:30 at Port of Call , which is just a short walk from the UWM School of Continuing Education facility. The Happy Hour social will feature complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar. Meet Tom Leahy and network with other learning professionals while you wait out the afternoon rush hour!
Whole Brain® Thinking focuses on showing people how to use their whole brain—not just the parts with which they feel most comfortable. It acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different kinds of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically leverage the full spectrum of thinking available.
Our presenter for this portion of the event is nationally renowned expert and author, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi. We are in for a real treat!
But wait—there’s more!
Special Event participants will be able to take the HBDI® (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) assessment. This is included with your registration fees! What a tremendous value. We are thrilled to be able to offer this as part of our already reasonable registration fees!!
What is the HBDI® assessment?
The HBDI® assessment is 120 questions that define and describes someone’s thinking preferences against the Whole Brain® model. This assessment will help you understand where you are in the Whole Brain® model as well as how you can interact with others in different areas of the Whole Brain spectrum.
10. Uncover how to engage your learners using Whole Brain® Thinking courtesy of Day 1 Speaker Anne Herrmann-Nehdi.
9. Experience Open Space Technology first-hand among your fellow learning and development professionals.
8. Receive a FREE personal profile of the internationally renowned Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) Assessment with your registration.
7. Obtain a skill or experience that you seek for learning engagement by approaching others using the "law of two feet" during Open Space.
6. There is something for everyone, from Novice to Experienced, to LEARN during the Open Space session.
5. There is something for everyone, from Novice to Experienced, to SHARE during the Open Space session.
4. Rev up for Friday’s session during a Thursday Happy Hour with our Open Space facilitator, Tom Leahy!
3. With so many possibilities to be uncovered, you are sure to attend session topics that best fit your professional needs.
2. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Halloween – bring your bag of training “tricks” and tools to share!
1. 2 days, 2 speakers – it’s 2 Big to Miss!
Thursday, October 29 & Friday, October 30
8:00 am – 4:30 pm
UWM – School of Continuing Education
For more information and to register, visit: http://sewi-atd.org/fall-special-event-engagelearners
Early Bird Registration ends September 26th!
The Early Bird gets the worm—and significant savings for the chapter special event, “Engage Learners using Whole Brain Thinking and Open Space Technology.” The Early Bird registration period ends earlier than usual. The deadline is Saturday September 26. Register now and save!
Today's Special Event Focus—Whole Brain Thinking and the HBDI Assessment
What is Whole Brain Thinking?
Whole Brain® Thinking focuses on showing people how to use their whole brain—not just the half with which they feel most comfortable. It acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different kinds of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically leverage the full spectrum of thinking available.
Our presenter, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, is a nationally renowned expert and author on the subject.
But wait—there’s more! Your event registration includes the HBDI Assessment.
What is the HBDI assessment?
The HBDI assessment is 120 questions that define and describes someone’s thinking preferences against the Whole Brain® model. This assessment will help you understand where you are in the Whole Brain model as well as how you can interact with others in different areas of the Whole Brain spectrum.
This tool is included with your registration fees; a tremendous value.
Watch for our next update on Open Space Technology, the second portion of our 2 Big 2 Miss event!
It’s the perennial question—how do we engage our learners? This year’s cutting edge, 2-day Special Event offers you a 360° opportunity to learn about Whole Brain® Thinking to engage learners, as well as to share and learn from your peers using Open Space Technology. Our speakers, Anne Herrmann-Nehdi and Tom Leahy, will guide us through this 2-day learning journey.
During Day 1, Anne Herrmann-Nehdi will engage and inspire our Whole Brain® Thinking. Whole Brain® Thinking focuses on showing people how to use their whole brain—not just the parts with which they feel most comfortable. It acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different kinds of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically leverage the full spectrum of thinking available. To help in our understanding of this, each event attendee will complete the HBDI Assessment® prior to the event (and included in the registration fee). You will receive your assessment results upon event check-in to reference during the morning.
Later that afternoon, Tom Leahy will start our Open Space experience! Open Space is an incredible meeting technology developed by Harrison Owens, who observed the tendency for people to self-organize into groups. He created a process that facilitates a high degree of spontaneity, choice, and personal responsibility that fits perfectly with today’s learners.
We will spend Thursday afternoon uncovering potential session topics, expertise, and questions that revolve around learner engagement. Tom will cover the necessary details and boundaries that make this technology work as the participants look forward to a day of self-selected learning and sharing of topics in demand by their peers on Friday.
Friday will be filled with five sessions, of your choosing, based on the topics you and other attendees determined. Using the “Law of two feet,” be ready to request sessions from others who may have a skill or experience that you seek. It is also an opportunity to bring your own “bag of tricks” by coming prepared to share your expertise and/or your favorite go-to resources (e.g., books, articles, games) for learner engagement. You know what you want to learn – participate in what is meaningful to you. Join us on this exciting quest!
Click here for more information [link to: http://sewi-atd.org/fall-special-event-engagelearners ]
Things are on the move here at SEWI-ATD, and we welcome all members and guests to come along. We hope you like our new website, the new e-blasts and now, we have a blog! Come back often to see what's new.
As president, I am proud of the programs and activities that this year’s SEWI-ATD team of board members and volunteers is bringing to you. We had rave reviews for the February and March presenters and the next program on April 24th – Education + Expertise = Empowerment, promises to be another success. It is a very timely topic that is currently trending in the media and in TD magazine.
In addition to new looks, we started a Professional Development Network (PDN) for talent & organizational development professionals. Whether you are a consultant out on your own or an internal practitioner, you will find the discussion themes applicable to what you do. These events are open to everyone, free of charge. Take a look at the programs and dates, and come join us.
SEWI-ATD exists for the talent and organizational community. Our purpose is to serve you. It’s our job to keep you informed, help you advance in your career, and continue to develop your skills and knowledge. SEWI-ATD provides ways to acquire new skills, learn from leaders in our industry, and network, not only in Milwaukee, but also in our region and nationally.
That means, this is a two-way street. What do you need? I invite you to send us your ideas, tell us what challenges you face in your careers, and what you would like to see offered by SEWI-ATD.
I look forward to seeing you at our next program on April 24th!