Tom Atlee: Open Space

Access, Governance, Innovation
Tom Atlee
Tom Atlee

What do we, as members of the dialogue and deliberation community of practice, have to be and do to enable our most positive transformational impact in the face of emerging global crises which fundamentally challenge our business-as-usual habits and systems?

We are now “opening space” for virtual Open Space sessions on the question of how we in the “D&D” community can better contribute to needed societal transformations.

The online Hackpad Open Space is already up and running and waiting for you here. The parallel real-time Maestro Conference Open Space will begin Tuesday January 13th at 11am Pacific Time (2pm Eastern Time), with two sessions held during the first 1 hour and 45 minutes and an optional closing circle held over the following 45 minutes.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

I want to especially welcome your participation in the Open Space session I am personally convening on leverage for transformation – specifically exploring this question:

How can we increase the leverage – the depth and breadth of systemic impact – of our conversational methods and initiatives so that we can better catalyze the profound transformations we seek in the limited time we have available?

Another way I’m framing this question is this:

What does conversation offer as a tool for confronting existential crises and transforming social systems and cultures? What do we need to know and do to use that tool in the best way possible?

I am offering space to explore the following associated questions, which are already linked to their own pages on the hackpad. You’ll find those links here. On those new pages you can offer your perspectives on any or all of these questions and/or read other people’s thoughts. Here are the questions:

▪ What does “strategy” mean to each of us?

▪ What do we each include in the field of D&D and conversation, as it relates to this inquiry?

▪ What are our various assumptions, theories, and stories about how transformational change happens? How does conversation fit into each of these theories of change?

▪ What gifts or services do we know the right kinds of conversation can provide that might be useful in catalyzing the kind of transformations we seek?

▪ What public issues – or kinds of public issues – if any – should we focus on in our transformational conversational initiatives? Which issues would you not consider strategic? Why?

▪ How should we choose the targets for our conversational interventions to have the greatest impact? (“Targets” here refers to who or what we want to engage in conversation, in what situations, circumstances, sectors, or dynamics of society.) What is our reasoning for each approach to targeting?

▪ What forms of conversation offer the most potent transformational benefits in what circumstances / for what purposes?

▪ What are some ways we can spread or magnify the reach of any particular conversational intervention we wish to undertake?

▪ Who do we need to be and how do we need to function – individually and collectively – as practitioners and advocates of conversational approaches, to contribute more to transformation than we do when we are immersed in business-as-usual social dynamics?

▪ What might we do in the immediate future to authentically address the issues that have come up as we explored these questions, given our current capacities and resources?

I have already entered my own answers to each of these, which you can read today in place of a long article on this subject. I expect that many other people – you, perhaps? – will also have things to say about all these either online or in the Open Space session on Maestro on Tuesday.