Harrison Owen: YouTube (14:20) Dancing with Shiva — Chaos as the Opening Door for Collective Engagement

Collective Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence

Phi Beta Iota: Harrison Owen, inventor of Open Space Technology, is one of our most prized mentors. His core point above is that all systems are open and self-organizing — control is a pretense.

See Also:

Harrison Owen @ Phi Beta Iota

Harrison Owen: August Morning Reflection & Invitation…

11 Society, Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Ethics, Methods & Process
Harrison Owen

This [ten-page] paper started as a note to myself as I sought to explore the disparity between my home here in Maine, the forest, lake, and loons…and the rushing maelstrom of the world about me that showed up in the instant on my computer screen.

Call it anxiety adjustment, therapy, or just an attempt to make some sense out of thing.

Perhaps it should have remained in that personal, private compartment, but I also felt the need to share, and so I have.  You have to decide the wisdom of that decision.




August Morning: A time for Reflection and an Invitation…

Harrison Owen: Public Administration in the 21st Century II

Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Officers Call, Policies

Good show to In the Dark of the Night with the “Three Story lines” I find myself in substantial agreement with all that is said about the downsides. However I might put an additional twist on #1 – Changing Consciousness. It certainly can have the air of fantasy, especially when played in the mode of “The Age of Aquarius.” But the positive side might be that it has happened before on multiple occasions – so why not again? I think there is broad agreement that such shifts have happened, and not just in the esoteric community. Less agreement as to the exact phases and mechanisms of development (evolution) – and mild to wild arguments about the details. Developmental Psychologists, Anthropologists, Sociologists all have their schema – along with the esoteric community. It is even possible to do some useful comparative study, for example, Ken Wilbur’s The Spectrum of Consciousness (Quest Books, 1993)

The schema I offered (my take on the Great Chain) certainly falls at the low end of sophistication when compared to the other efforts, but  it has been  around a lot longer than all the rest which suggests a certain historical viability. And it was not my purpose to rewrite the history of consciousness, a task for which I have zero competence – but rather to get something on the table for discussion. Five Easy Pieces, as it were – you might say it was “good enough for government work.”

Anyhow, if shifts do take place, and the schema I offered is a rough approximation of the situation – why would that matter? One might argue that you simply had to fold your hands and wait for the inevitable to take place – and many people would do that – so why bother to even think about it? I think there are at least two reasons. First – when life gets confusing it is helpful if you can see the dreck as part of a process as opposed to mad randomness. I’m told that women experience this in the birthing process, each moment of which can seem like insane hell – and it is also an ordered sequence that gets you to a desired outcome (a baby). The second reason is that with some knowledge of the process, it may be possible to facilitate its progress, which of course is what a Midwife does, and Breathing helps.

You don’t design the process, can’t change it – No skipping of steps! But you can facilitate its flow. That is what happens in birthing. Could it also happen in the birthing of consciousness? Not just with each individual, one individual at a time, but all together, or at least in large groups? I think we have more than a few clues as to how that might happen – none of which include storming the walls of the ancient regime or convening the global design team. I think.


Harrison Owen: Public Administration in the 21st Century

Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Methods & Process, Officers Call
Harrison Owen

Asked to comment on the preliminary abstract for a new article, below the line at Search: public administration in 21 century, Harrison responded as follows.

I like your story line, if only because you reach a conclusion that closely parallels one of my own. Coming off a very different base, I found myself convinced that we are at the cusp of a transformative moment, caught between a control oriented, rationalistic awareness (consciousness) of ourselves and our world, verging into an interactive, self organizing consciousness. And “cusps” are always painful and disorienting, which would seem to be an accurate, albeit mild, characterization of our times.

—  extract from the end advanced here—

The real issue was that The Millennium Organization was not a “new program” – it was a profound paradigm shift. And if Thomas Kuhn has taught us anything it is that paradigm shifts are counterintuitive, painful and always the last thing that anybody in their right mind would care to do. Even worse shifting paradigms is not something you can think or reason yourself into. You can’t plan it, design it, program it, manage it, nor control it. The journey forward follows a very different route. I believe there are any number of useful approaches – but none of them come from the Old Proactive Toolbox. I think.

—read the full story—

Continue reading “Harrison Owen: Public Administration in the 21st Century”

Review: The Clash of Ideas in World Politics–Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010

4 Star, Culture, Research, History, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Religion & Politics of Religion, Security (Including Immigration), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

John M. Owen

4.0 out of 5 stars Academic, Historical Focus on States

March 4, 2011

In comparison to Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order, which is receiving a 6+ from my (my top 10%), this is at best a 4 for the general public of which I am a part. It has its academic testimonials, in that world it seems to be a solid 5.

The author focuses on the period from 1510-2010 and on forcible regime change among polarized elites. While the author clearly states his intent to confront realism theory and to provide an alternative history over five centuries, the book leaves me bored and cold.

Ideas matter, the author tells us. He documents (most ably) three waves, three ideological struggles.

First wave 1520-1650, Catholic Church versus monarchs

Second wave 1770-1850, Monarchs versus republicans/constitutionalists

Third wave 1919 to date, Export of fascism, communism, and liberal democracy

Continue reading “Review: The Clash of Ideas in World Politics–Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010”

Journal: Get America Working-A Conversation Part IV Enter usfruct (husbandry of the planet) and Spiritual Ecology

02 Diplomacy, 08 Wild Cards, 11 Society, Advanced Cyber/IO, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, InfoOps (IO), Peace Intelligence, Threats

Harrison Owen:

Well said. And I rather suspect that the core of the matter is deeper than Culture – and that would be an extended conversation. But it is certainly not about rule change and redesign, I think.

Alexander Carpenter:

Right on, as your imminent study of evolutionary psychology will confirm. I reckon we don’t have time for evolutions in our Pleistocene genome to catch up to (and get ahead of) our impact on the planet, so we’re just gonna hafta run what we brung. That means cultural engineering and we already have been shown how to do it by the Oligarchy. What’s it gonna take to shift the values-balance from hegemonistic concentration at any cost to something closer to sustainability? But then, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation barely touched-on in the message below…

Continue reading “Journal: Get America Working-A Conversation Part IV Enter usfruct (husbandry of the planet) and Spiritual Ecology”

Review: Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page

Harrison Owen

5.0 out of 5 stars Low-Cost Priceless Guide Worth Hundreds of Thousands

October 24, 2010

It’s been my pleasure to know the author of this book ever since he hunted me down after my review of Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World, and I have also had the benefit of being a participant in a number of Open Space sessions run by, among others, Peggy Holman, author of Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity and the older The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems.

I cannot over-state the value of this book to anyone who has a complex and expensive problem but cannot afford to get the author there personally. While the book is no substitute for the genius, the intuition, the experience, and the sheer “quiet energy” that the author can bring to any endeavor, it is not just a starting point, it is more than enough to get you through your first self-organized event, and the results are sure to astonish as well as excite about the potential benefits of having the author lead the next session.

Here is how it works in a nut-shell, and I put this into the review because I am not happy with the minimalist marketing information the publisher has provided but happy that Look Inside the Book is activated–use that feature!

1) Everyone who cares is invited to a meeting in a space large enough to accommodate the group. Many events will charge a fee to cover the space, the food, and the travel costs of the facilitators, some events can be free especially if internal. HOWEVER, the diversity of who is invited (i.e. including outsiders, clients, journalists, the lowest ranking maintenance people), THIS MATTERS….A LOT.

Continue reading “Review: Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide”

Who’s Who in Peace Intelligence: Harrison Owen

Alpha M-P, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Peace Intelligence
Harrison Owen
Harrison Owen

Harrison Owen lives in Maryland and is immediately available to help any element of the U.S. Government, from White House to the smallest independent element of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

“Learning as Transformation” is one of his more important and most widely-read online papers.

He is the inventor of Open Space Technology (OST).  Below are links to reviews of his two most important books.  At his home page (click on the photo) are links to Papers and other gold nuggets.

Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

Review: The Practice of Peace

We consider his offering so very important to our shared future that below we summarize the ingredients.  This knowledge is free and can be used by anyone anywhere.

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TED: Sugata Mitra–The child-driven education

04 Education, Academia, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Mobile, TED Videos

TED Short Video

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

About this talk

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

About Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity… Full bio and more links

Phi Beta Iota: Harrison Owen recommended this.  He has spent his life nurturing self-organizing systems.  This is one of the most moving, impactful ideas and presentations we have seen in our lifetime.  This is one of the keys.

See Also:

Worth a Look: Open Space Re-Invention

Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

Reference: Peggy Holman Free Video on Emergence

Review: The World Is Open–How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

Worth a Look: New Book Engaging Emergence

Worth A Look

Dear Colleague,

Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity is almost here…I’m excited to share the news that my book will ship from the printer on August 6th.

Engaging Emergence
Amazon Page

To get that buzz going, I’m asking everyone I know to help me get the book off to a fast start! Please consider picking up a copy of the book, perhaps even ordering a second copy as a gift for a friend. Or forward this message on to people you think would find the book of interest so that they can pre-order a copy for themselves.

I’m thrilled with how the book turned out. Esthetically, it is beautiful. And based on the feedback from many of you, people are finding the content useful and inspiring. I look forward to your feedback.

Engaging Emergence offers principles, practices, and real-word stories for bringing compassion, creativity, and wisdom to the entire arc of change-from disruption to coherence. For more about the contents, click here.

You can even check out the text.

Pre-order the book from Amazon

Thank you again for your support — of me and of the book.


Peggy Holman

Phi Beta Iota: Peggy Holman is one of the top grass-roots leadership and self-organization gurus in the USA, and easily among the top 100 in the world. She may be the most active practitioner of Open Space Technology as conceived by Harrison Owen.

See Also:

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

Review: Society’s Breakthrough!–Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People

Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

Review: Evolutionary Activism by Tom Atlee

Review (DVD): Duplicity

3 Star, Intelligence (Commercial), Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page

3.0 out of 5 stars Confused, Overly Complex, Badly Staged

February 15, 2010

Julia Roberts, Clive Own

As a former spy who has spent the last 21 years in commercial intelligence, i expected much more from this film with its great actors but I was very disappointed. Had it not been in front of me on background as I edit my new book I would have turned it off completely on more than one occasion.

The ending is sort of clever and I will not spoil it, but there are no clues at the beginning so the movie more or less ends with “fooled you, didn’t I, but your going to have to take my word for it.” And about that pink elephant that I am keeping away from your front lawn….

Over-all, this is a cluttered mess.

There are still no really great commercial intelligence films, nor should they be, because those who spend heavily on commercial espionage lack both ethics and brains. 95% of what you need to be a successful ethical commercial intelligence practioner is openly available and your customers should be providing you with the rest, i.e. what they want that no one else has thought to give them.

Other spy-type DVDs that I have enjoyed include
Breach (Widescreen Edition)
Firewall (Widescreen Edition)
The Departed (Widescreen Edition)
Live Free or Die Hard [Blu-ray]
U-571 (Collector’s Edition)
True Lies
Out of Sight (Collector’s Edition)

And of course the Bourne series and the new James Bond series and before that, everything featuring George Smiley.

Vote on Review

Search: “global futures partnership” 2010

Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice

Thank you for this search.  We select and respond to searches for two reasons:

1.  80% of the knowledge is not published, the searches allow us to provide some form of response.

2.  We discover other cool stuff while checking the larger web, and that helps us learn.

Global Futures Partnership (GFP) is now and will forever be centered on Carol Dumaine, one of two CIA employees still standing that we think the world of–the other is Andy Shepard.  There are no doubt a handful of others that merit special regard, but they have been locked in the closet with socks in their mouths so they are unknown to us.

Continue reading “Search: “global futures partnership” 2010″

Review: The Practice of Peace

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Priorities, Public Administration, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Peace Through Open Space
November 26, 2009
Harrison Owen
The author gave me a copy of this book as a gift, after inviting me to lunch to discuss my review of Wave Rider (EasyRead Large Edition): Leadership for High Performance In a Self-Organizing World.

This book needs to be re-issued. It is a perfect complement to Tom Atlee’s forthcoming Refelctions on Evolutionary Activism (Tom is the author of The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All–read my review of EA at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog.]

Although I knew the author was the founder of the Open Space Technology (OST) process, and recommend his book Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, I learn in this book that the other essential reader is his earlier book, The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform.

This book does something I was not expecting: it directly relates, in a tight DNA-like spiral, the use of open space technology (process is really a better word) to the practice of peace. This is not a book on Quakerism–the author has made an original contribution that has moved me further down the road toward Evolutionary Activism (focus on connecting all humans to all information, not on arriving as specific answers)-but I better understand the value of such books as Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through the Quaker Tradition as a result of this reading.

ALSO unexpected, I found this book to be a handbook for a “Whole Systems” approach to peace and prosperity. The author writes of “Multi-Factorial Development” attempting to do that, but i have the margin notation that putting a bunch of singular discipline experts (one from each discipline) in a room together does not create in any of them the ability to *do* systems thinking (or sustainable design). See Critical Path and The Philosophy of Sustainable Design.

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Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

6 Star Top 10%, Complexity & Resilience, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Leadership, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Some Warts But If You Buy Only One Book, Try This One….

September 3, 2009

Harrison Owen

The author (developer of the modern Open Space Technology) that revives the Native American open circle)  tells us the book will inevitably be a repetition of his past books in different form, but I do not deduct for that because for me this is the first and only book, and may therefore prove his point: you have to keep telling the story in different forms to reach different segments of the public. I put the book down feeling it was an excellent overview, and feeling no need to acquire and read the other books.

I identify with the author when he notes (without complaint) that his insights that are so mainstream today (at least among the avant guarde) caused him to be labeled as totally lacking in credibility. Been there, done that–called a lunatic by CIA in 1992 for pointing out the urgency of getting a grip on open sources of information.

The author, the founder of the “Open Space” protocol that elicits boundless creativity in very short times by NOT seeking to structure, lead, or control, spends a lot of time on the concept of self-organization, concluding at the very end of the book that EVERYTHING is self-organizing, and all systems that seek to command & control are, by and large, part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Continue reading “Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World”