Generosity and creativity – like a beautiful bow on a lovely package. So many gifts from our Open Space host team  in Manila. A video interview with Harrison Owen and multiple graphical images, each image more awe-inspiring than the other. They stir the soul, pull hearts and minds and for those unfamiliar with Open Space, they pique the curiosity as nothing else could.

A good place to start is a message from the guy who started it all 30 years ago and thousands and thousands of Open Spaces later in about 140 countries. May I introduce Harrison Owen,  a great man with a big heart and tons of smarts.

When I was first introduced to Open Space, I thought it a bit strange.  After sitting in a circle a few times, I recognized right away that what was really strange was how much time we spend sitting across from each other around tables or sitting in classroom or theatre style, always listening rather than engaging, or standing behind a podium heeding the expert instead of ourselves and often forgetting all the wisdom in the room.

Which would you prefer? Sitting in the crowd listening for hours on end?


Or connecting with people on the topics that are of most interest to you?

Is it not time to rethink how we communicate and work together?  Interesting that when we’re home, we do none of that or very little. We sit around the kitchen table, hang out in the den, speak up when we want to and listen when that feels better. Everyone’s voice has a chance to be heard. And THAT is what open space is all about. An invitation to speak, listen and learn together not as a position that we’ve earned but as place we were all born into.

In the words of the workplace, that’s what true engagement is all about, not a statistic or a survey but breathing life in the workplace because everyone has a chance to meaningfully contribute.

Thank you Manila for these beautiful images and graphics reminding us how terrific life can be when we get a chance to talk…and listen.