Making Open Space work LO13398

Mnr AM de Lange (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 15:56:05 GMT+2

Doug Reeler wrote on 11 Apr in LO13192

> ' Open Space is recognized internationally as an innovative approach to
> creating whole systems change and enhancing human performance. It is used
> in organizations world-wide to create shared vision, new product ideas,
> marketing strategies, customer service strategies and implemention plans.'
> and having used Open Space (OS) many times, I would like to open a
> discussion to explore why it works -and therefore what principles can be
> learnt and applied elsewhere - and how it can be improved.

Dear organlearners,

Doug, openness is one of the seven essentialities of creativity, just as
wholeness is another one. Many a discussion on this list incorporated
wholeness (or holism), but far fewer of them included openness.

Openness is apparently an easy topic to discuss. But openness is
intimately connected to changes in general and paradigm shifts in
particular. Change and paradigms are not easy topics to discuss.

Openness is crucial to the production of entropy, the source of all
changes. Isolation is the opposite of openness. An isolated system has
only one future, the death of equilibrium where no significant changes can
happen anymore.

In thermodynamics a remarkable distinction is made between isolated,
closed and open systems. A closed system is partially open, i.e partially
isolated. We must be very careful to make sure that our perception of
openness is indeed openness and not closedness, i.e. partial openness!

Closedness, like openness, is vitally important. Closedness is necessary
to attain homeostasis in self-organising systems. However, too much
stress on closedness can prevent emergences (innovations) by which the
system attains new resilience, i.e stability in a changing environment.

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email:

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>