How did you structure the sessions?The Un-Convention
... there’s the “law of mobility” — it’s the only “law” in the room and it’s pretty simple: If you’re not giving, contributing or learning where you are, you need to get up and go to another circle.
Were there any surprises along the way?
We do seminars and conferences and think that our attendees are putting all these great ideas into practice. But when we got into circles to discuss their issues, it became clear that the speed of learning and adoption is slower than the dissemination of ideas. Sometimes the content just doesn’t penetrate. We were blown away by how many people in the circles were struggling with things that had been out there for so long.
Now that you’ve gone through the whole process, what are your thoughts about Open Space as a meeting process?
In certain communities, when we have ideas and practices we need to share, this can be the most effective way to get that done. There can be such a big gap between the experts, who often don’t do anything in the field any more, and the people out in the field doing things — and those things are changing so fast. Open Space revealed the true speed of change in a way that other processes can’t. It also allowed us to go deeper into the true nature of issues than a general session would have been able to address. If you want to put something together that’s in the moment and addresses what’s on attendees’ minds right now, there is nothing else that can accomplish that like Open Space.
...the reason the have a point and defend it method is not effective is because you are guiding your audience through a justification of your point, not a realization of your point. In other words, we come to believe an idea through a series of experiences, some of them quite mystical, like hearing a song or meeting a kid or reading a book and then watching a movie. And then the light bulb went on, and we realized we should all engage fatherless kids. So when we had to give a speech about it, we jumped on wickepedia and gave some justifications for why people should engage fatherless kids. But justifications are only good after you realize an idea, not before. Justification is not how the human brain actually comes to understand an idea at all. By the end of your talk, the only people who are going to agree with you are the people who agreed with you going into it, most likely. Instead, I try to shape a talk around the way a human brain actually comes to a realization. In other words, I mimic those experiences the brain needs to encounter in order to have that “aha” moment.
Donald Miller. How I Prepare a Speech, or How to Guide Somebody Toward an Epiphany
In every age it will be apparent to accurate thinkers that scientific theories, being arrived at in the way I have described, are never statements of fact. That stars appear to move in such and such ways, or that substances behaved thus and thus in the laboratory--these are statements of fact. The astronomical or chemical theory can never be more than provisional....In our age I think it would be fair to say that the ease with which a scientific theory assumes the dignity and rigidity of fact varies inversely with the individual's scientific education. In discussion with wholly uneducated audiences I have sometimes found matter which real scientists would regard as highly speculative more firmly believed than many things within our real knowledge....The mass media which have in our time created a popular scientism, a caricature of the true sciences, did not then exist [in the Middle Ages].C.S. Lewis
. THE DISCARDED IMAGE: AN INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE LITERATURE