Monday, October 24, 2016

What´s so great about Open Space?

Suzanne Daigle on the OSLIST
"If you haven't seen it yet. If you haven't considered it yet. I'd say please do!!!
OSI US has initiated a terrific project. (**Thank you for conceiving the idea: To create a 2 minute video where you can describe "What's so great about Open Space?")
I've never felt comfortable watching myself on video, let alone doing a video of myself. But my passion and appreciation for the gift of Open Space in my life was bigger than my fear so I just jumped in. Still feel a bit dorky about it but did it. Which then led me to try with Michael Herman to invite folks for the upcoming Virtual World Open Space in Manila. 
How wonderful it would be to have the voices and images of people around the world sharing in this way. I can even imagine a special session in Manila to listen to them all.

Please visit the OSI US website for instructions and to see the 4 short clips that are posted there now. Each with their own flavor and spirit. 
And if you haven't done so already, consider joining the folks in Manila and beyond for a virtual taste of the World Open Space on Open Space. For the price of a few cups of coffee and some muffins, you could be part of a vibrant history being created minute by minute. I'm sure our wonderful Filipino hosts would be thrilled to feel your presence.


Suzanne Daigle 
Open Space Facilitator
NuFocus Strategic Group 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

John Thackara: signals of transformation


SEPTEMBER 2016 Newsletter

Since my book How To Thrive In the Next Economy was published – a year ago this week – I’ve had conversations about it at forty talks and workshops . With thanks to my diverse but always generous hosts, this email is to share the 72 most interesting and cheering things that I learnedalong the way.  …


1    My talks proposed a simple theory of value: the health of living systems, including human ones, is paramount. Money and GDP are secondary indicators of progress, at best. Nobody disagreed. So that’s that sorted.
2    For the theologian Ina Praetorius, what’s emerging is a care-centered economy .
3     Dougald Hine says we’re in a shift from a transactional to a relational economy.
4    The Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si – with a target readership of 1.2 billion people – includes a whole chapter on ‘integral ecology’. Fritjof Capra celebrated the Pope’s systems thinking .
5    Encouraged by the above, my talk at Berkeley was entitled: From Biomedicine to Bioregion – The Geographies of a Care-Based Economy


6    In a care-centered economy, restoring plant life and biodiversity is at least as high a priority as changing our energy system, or reigning in the banks.
7    John Liu has demonstrated that large-scale ecological restoration is possible.
8    A ‘ National Ecological Rescue Plan ‘ features prominently in the programme of Podemos in Spain.
9    The European Union (which speaks in many voices, it’s true) supports High Nature Value(HNV) farming
10    Scotland is already monitoring HNV Farming and Forestry Indicators.
11    Wales is legislating ‘ a duty of care to future generations
12    Judith Schwartz wrote an excellent primer on the restoration of  soil health
13    In California, Fibershed published this story (and a map) about climate-beneficial wool
14    In Bangalore – once known known as the ‘city of lakes’’ – the ecologist S. Vishwanath is working on the restoration of watersheds devastated by hyper-development.
15    Re-forestation – a sub-set of ecological restoration – should focus on biodiversity . Planting trees en masse – especially as as bio-energy crops – can badly damage ecosystems.
16    I met many people involved in wetlands restoration projects – such as this
17    I learned a useful new word from this swamps community: Limnology. It means the study of inland waterways
18    Europe’s ‘ low impact fishing ’ communities have formed themselves into a platform
19    Ecosystem restoration creates jobs and business activity
20    Some of these jobs are in dam removal – which is booming.
21    Although soil restoration using plants and natural chemicals can achieve a lot, a good deal of heavy lifting will still be needed. In a talk to DEME, I suggested they stop calling themselves a dredging company and become global leaders in Land Repair.
22    I discovered a treasure trove of “good” green tech in the the Climate Tech Wiki
23    Ecological restoration, and regeneration , are not the same thing.
24    There’s also a difference between restoration ecology and ‘ rewilding ‘.
25    I learned from Regenesis that we need to “grow our capacity to think systemically and holistically about whole living systems and our role in living among them”


26    The “Network Europe 21”  agenda states that  Europe should be organised as an  “Interconnected Transnational Republic of Cities and Regions 
27    I proposed adding “Bio-”  to the word region in a post called Bioregions: Notes on a design agenda
28    We then ran a two week course at Schumacher College, in South Devon, England, calledBioregionalism By Design.
29    A lot of “learning” about a place, it emerged, involves knowledge that already exists – but in overlooked professional archives. An inspiring example in South Devon were maps made by theWest Country Rivers Trust to inform its watershed catchment planning.
30    Isabel Carlisle (a course leader on the Schumacher course) is setting up a bioregional learning centre to serve South Devon’s Dartia watershed. The West Country Rivers Trust is a partner, as are Devon Hedges (who also look after wildlife corridors). Carlisle is setting up a Keepers of the Place network
31    Later, in my talk at #earthtalks in Vienna, I argued that a Europe of Bioregions would be a strong counter-proposal to the ‘Europe of Fatherlands’ being proposed by the xenophobic right.
32    At a workshop called Back To The Land 2.0 with Chora Connection in Denmark, we invited project leaders to share their insights on what makes a living economy work in their bioregion.
33    The organic municipality of Lejre , we heard, is setting up a Farm Lab in an amazing building
34    Although the idea of an ‘organic municipality’ seems to be a first, one third of Swedish municipalities are ‘ eco-municipalities 
35    At HF Cold Hawaii, a Danish high school, lessons are rescheduled when the surf is up.
36    At a Stir To Action workshop in England, we discussed the need for a back-to-the-land cooperation platform.
37    After that worklshop, the Agroecology Land Trust made a to-do list of practical issues that need to be addressed: Access to land; Skills and training; Business and livelihoods; Communities and culture.
38    Truth be told, the words “Back to the Land” and “Bioregionalism” did not (yet) trigger an “ahah!” response. For one thing, the project pioneers who know most about the subject are already there – on the land. New concepts, visions, and plans are not, to put it mildly, a priority.
39    Project leaders do value meeting each other – but some complained of networking fatigue. They already have lots to do – and the work needed to choral a wide variety of stakeholders is relentless.
40    One conclusion: Stories about local projects are more usefully shared in that place than described, second-hand, in the city.  With that in mind, plans for a Chora Connection Caravanserai are in the works. The idea is take subject experts to work with project pioneers on key challenges: financing, housing, legal barriers, new business models.
41    In big cities, amplifying the number and reach of grassroots projects takes structure, processes, commitment, and time. To this end, Tessy Britton’s Participatory City project will involve, from 2017, a ‘demonstration neighbourhood’ of 200-300,000 people. They will test out up to 1,000 ideas over a five year period.
42    In France, a  book called Villages of the Future documents a state-of-the-art approach to community and place development in the Bourgogne region.


43    Several people asked: How could I write a book with “Designing Tomorrow’s World Today” in its title and not include a chapter on ‘Making’? I sometimes quoted Ursula K. Le Guin (in The Lathe of Heaven): “ Things don’t have purposes “. I also argued that if ‘production’ is not the purpose of life, then neither is it the purpose of a living economy.
44    Besides, we have too much stuff. Offsite storage has been the fastest-growing segment of US commercial real estate for 40 years running.
45    Dmitry Orlov takes a harder line than I do in his new book: “Unlike Gaia, which is an organism onto itself, the technosphere is a parasite upon the biosphere 
46    Many of my designer friends are excited by the promise of a circular economy. I irritated some of them with this quote: “ Sociometabolically , 44 percent of a ‘circular economy’ is not available for recycling”.
47    Christian Arnsperger offered up a compromise. Circular economy effects work – but only under conditions of one per cent growth. We should therefore grow a “ perma-circular economy“.
48    An enjoyable making task for a perma-circular economy:  the hardware needed for next economy energy systems : The necessary tools and equipment will be “numerous, varied, small-scale, and interconnected”.
49    The Make Works platform is Scotland is an asset-based-place-based approach to making. It feels more significant than all those 3d printers and drones. “ Make Works are factory finders ” – and now you can be one, too.
50    In the long run, how we use and take care of things is just as important as making new stuff. Kate Fletcher’s important book Craft Of Use: Post-Growth Fashion frames design and use as a single whole, and documents the ways in people across three continents use their clothes.


51    Michel Bauwens advocates a p2p economy in which equal partners steward common resources. A polycentric system of commons trusts would enable ecosystems to be stewarded both locally and globally.
52    This sounds hard, to put it mildly. But a tremendous buzz is growing around the notion ofplatform coops as the political and organisational means to enable such an economy to flourish.
53    For Trebor Sholz, who coined the term, the next step is to develop Platform Coops as “something like public utilities ”.
54    Platform coops are not abstract models. They are ‘living beings’. Hence, they are infinitely diverse
55    The difference between platform cooperativism, and the sharing-economy , is helpfully explained here by @jdaviescoates
56    If ecological restoration is indeed the “great work” of our time’ – then we need training centres in every bioregion.
57    I favour Folk High Schools for this role. They are in many ways an excellent model developed in the Nordic
 countries in the nineteenth century.
58    A social infrastructure complementary to Folk High Schools can be bioregional guilds – like this one in Cascadia.
59    We also need to reconnect with our places in festivals and biennials . I suggested, to a conference of biennial organisers, that “social and ecological systems can be stars of the show”
60    Overly-scientific climate communications have caused worldwide “ story fatigue “. Artists have an urgent role to play in shifting our focus onto “intangible but meaning-making aspects of the problem”.
61    Soil Culture: Bringing the Arts Down to Earth is an inspiring example of what artists can do.  The same is now involved in the ecological arts network Art.Earth
62    Another example of art enhancing place is  Cateran’s Common Wealth . in Scotland. Clare Cooper curates a wide variety of arts, cultural and heritage activities to celebrate the common wealth of Big Tree Country.
63    Could your bioregion be a memership organisation? Hugh Dubberly developed an fresh and  innovative Membership Engagement Platform for National Geographic (before, sadly, it changed hands).


64    Back in January I asked,  “ Are positive stories enough? ”  My conclusion, nine months later, is that grounded evidence of positive change is indeed a powerful antidote to the fear being whipped up by some politicians and their media.
65    To judge by project birth-rates, the next economy is emerging faster than a year ago, too. Someone showed me a map that lists 862 projects in the Marseille region alone .
66     If dversity is another indicator of ecosystem health, then the proliferation of new social and economic models is also cheering. The Real Economy Lab , which I saw launched in Bristol, documents 400 examples. They are helpfully divided up into Tribes, and Themes.
67    The search for a dividing line between ‘before’ and ‘after’ (or “Left” and “Right”) is probably misguided. As stated by the Communard Manifesto , “The new world will be born and affirmed inside the old”.
68    The best book I received this year is Lean Logic: Dictionary Of he Future and How to Survive It. I have never made this promise before – but if you buy this book, you will not regret it.
69    There was broad agreement on my travels that climate change will not be ‘defeated’ by a) wars b) utopias or c) sentences that include the words “we must” or “they must”
70   Otherwise stated: “Another world is possible” (Arundhati Roy) was a good story.  “Another world is happening” is a better one.


71    I’ve been a writer and storyteller all my life but I never heard the word “ narratology ” until the military got involved.
72    I guess that means I am a Narratologist for hire


Contact me (John Thackara, Doors of Perception) by Email
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Cynefin framework

 via Frands Frydendal/John Croft , thanks!
Text below from the presentation of the video.
The Cynefin Framework is central to Cognitive Edge methods and tools. It allows executives to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities. Using the Cynefin framework can help executives sense which context they are in so that they can not only make better decisions but also avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes.

Cynefin, pronounced kuh-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand.

In this video, Dave Snowden introduces the Cynefin Framework with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function. Details of Dave's workshops can be found here


Monday, July 18, 2016


This video was recommended to me by Frands Frydendal, who I met during GEN conference Europe, last 4-8 July in Arterra.

Here is a link to a page with online resources on sociocracy: Dragon Dreaming, I recommend you go to the website, there is a lot of stuff, but maybe the best place is at -> About us -> International ebook.
Direct link: Good luck, and please contact me, if and when you have more questions. 
A longer John Buck, coauthor of "We the people: consenting to a deeper democracy":



Monday, June 27, 2016

A total communication breakdown. Sarah Grange on the #OSLIST (just after Brexit)

Sarah Grange via OSList

eka. 26 (Duela 1 egun)

"For us, here in the UK, it’s about a lot more than the stock exchange. Since the reckless decision to hold this unnecessary referendum -  an attempt by a power-greedy man to hold on to his power at all costs - the country has been split in half. To dismiss voters and campaigners as idiots is to belittle and denigrate some very real feelings of alienation, disengagement and fear that have been quietly bubbling up for a long time. It feels like history repeating, although the poverty levels are not as visible as in inter-war Germany (there have been no wheelbarrows full of cash to buy a loaf of bread - yet), the extreme rich/poor divide generated by an elitist system that simply doesn’t listen is possibly even more poisonous and dangerous because of this invisibility. It feels like there is no alternative, it feels like there is no control. Time and again, protest marches are ignored. Time and again, petitions are dismissed. Time and again, the big corporations are bailed out, unaccountable to the damage they cause, whilst struggling communities are derided as stupid, uneducated, worthless.

We aren’t crazy, or stupid. But we are divided, angry, impotent and in thrall to a system that feeds lie after lie, empty promise after empty promise, to people looking for a way out of the trap but unempowered to take responsibility for escaping themselves. Someone said to me today that we have moved to a post-truth society. (Michael Gove on television last week: “The British people are sick of experts”). The Leave campaign was built on outright lies, but it tapped into an emotional imbalance that had no other route of expression.

People in many places feel they have no agency or voice  - the voting system here means that in general elections (and therefore almost all voting scenarios) the individual’s vote is mostly meaningless. The number of people now saying “I didn’t think my vote counted” is astonishing, but it’s not because they’re stupid, it’s because the space is not open. Their sessions never got called. The agenda has been fixed for so long, everyone has forgotten how to use their two feet.

Some interesting statistics have emerged. Among these is the fact that the 48% who voted Remain trust largely in experts, whilst those that voted leave trust no one. For me, this highlights the greatest lesson to be learnt. Good conversation - face-to-face, crossing class and professional barriers - has been sorely lacking. Politicians, bankers, bureaucrats are described all too often as “faceless”. A crucial connection between the systems of power and the people living daily lives within those systems is utterly lacking. That one MP who diligently tried to create such a connection was violently murdered on the street by a right-wing extremist shows how far the rift has grown. Dialogue is met with violence.

Don’t laugh at this, please, because it’s an illness half the world is sick with. We think Trump’s rise to power is crazy, hilarious, madness - how can America be so stupid? we were saying last year. Now we know. It’s not stupidity, it’s a total communication breakdown, it’s an ideological Berlin wall, and it’s being built higher every time we call each other ‘stupid', ‘crazy', ‘idiot'...


It should also be noted that this referendum was advisory, not mandatory, so it could be that many voters were expressing a preference that they were not expecting to be acted upon immediately. The government is under no legal obligation whatsoever to follow through with actually leaving the EU. The fact that they look to be pressing ahead on such a slim margin (only 4% between Leave and Remain!) is perhaps the really truly crazy behaviour.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

History and Geography of European Languages

Talk by Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis of on January 26, 2014 at the Festival delle Scienze in Rome, Italy. Note that only the introduction is in Italian, while the rest of the talk is in English.

In this kind of videos, it´s always for me most interesting to read the Open Space part, that´s to say, the comments of whoever feels like.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

David Smith´s interviews about Open Space

David Smith surprises us with this message in teh OSLIST:

Dear Open Spacers, 
I have now uploaded lightly edited, but otherwise complete versions of the seven interviews I did at Marysville in 2002.

I understand these may be used in a professional capacity by OS facilitators which is fine by me. I was paid a small amount by the OS Board to cover theshoot, back in the day, but not any of the extensive post-production. If anyone felt moved to make a small contribution to help cover my costs in preparing these videos I would be most grateful. Any payments could be made to my PayPal account via my email below. 
Best to all 
Winner,Australian Achiever Awards 
Victorian TV, Film, Audio and Video
YouTube Links, Open Space interviews:
Short interviews Harrison Owen, Peggy Holman, Nev Kennard 
Bayyinah Bello 
Peggy Holman 
Nev Kennard 
John Moore 
Peter OÇonnell 
Harrison Owen (extended interview) 
Helen Patterson