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OSI-US Board Meeting June 20, 2008
Thank you for your comments, adjustments, corrections.


Present: Peggy Holman, Lisa Heft, Christine Whitney Sanchez, Gabriel Shirley, Ed Laboy -- Absent: Tree Fitzpatrick, Douglas Germann Sr., Phelim Mc Dermott, John Engle, Karen Davis (stepped in to say hi). Notes-taker: Lisa Heft

We began by sharing a moment of silence together.

Check-in: Gabriel and Christine were in New York with other colleagues meeting with national board of directors and leadership for the convention for the Girl Scouts - productive, interesting and lots of work. Ed just back from New Orleans - it is amazing that Christine was in NYC and Ed was out of town. Peggy came back from the 8th in a series of Journalism that Matters gatherings - convening a diverse system of journalists in OS. This gathering gave her the most tangible sense of what the new story of journalism is - ‘place bloggers’ who include news of location, activity, geography that becomes a base for civic engagement - the new journalism therefore includes / inspires increased civic engagement, which is what journalism originally was. June 28 she is keynoting Systems Renewal’s alumni conference - the theme is ‘the changing nature of change’. She is developing a short volume on deeper patterns - what informs this work we do - the frameworks from which we consciously operate. Gabriel reflected on - in his work with the Girl Scouts - previously a disconnect between the theme of leadership and the idea of storytelling and story (which can seem ‘soft’ and not connected to work on the ground to some folks). He feels they made significant progress in connecting leadership and story. Lisa just returned from Mozambique, where she facilitated OS with US Agency for International Development, Peace Corps, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense, State Department, Ambassador to Mozambique and Mozambique partners - about how to spend the next 5 years of $250m/year international funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, policy and care. She is also working hard on this little party we are having in July - the World Open Space on Open Space 2008 in San Francisco.

1. Encouraging Monthly / Regular Giving (Gabriel)

Some folks could do more giving if it were on a monthly basis. If we put this option on our website, can people set their own amount? We can also add set categories.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Gabriel will have a conversation with Michael Herman to include those options on the OSI osworld page. Options will include $10, 25, 50, Other.

2. WOSonOS2008 Update (Lisa)

The Host Team is working hard on visa invitation letters and interaction with about 20 folks; Access Queen is doing a lot of work behind the scenes booking accommodation for internationals (and funding some of that), helping Askers as they write proposals, finding Russian translators (5 Russians are coming to our conference), seeking home stays and room shares, seeking sponsorship. Without financial sponsorship, cost per-person is currently $300 - currently there are 58 registered and about 23 are paying registration under - many way under - the per-cost amount. We have faith that this pay-the-most-that-you-can registration pool will cover costs - if not, the money comes out of Lisa’s pocket as she offered the advance / seed money. First sponsor has come in - though it’s for materials (Neuland international, makers of products for facilitators) - having the name of a first sponsor definitely helps in conversations with next potential funders. Currently registrants are from Australia (biggest contingent aside from US folks), Burundi (if their visas get approved, cross your fingers), Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, hopefully Pakistan, Russia (next largest contingent) Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States (yay!). As is typical for these things, numbers will change during this last month of registration - many folks seem to decide a bit late in the game. If you know of folks who are coming but have not yet registered, please ask them to go ahead and do so as that will help us know what is in our budget and give us cash to use for our advance bills.

For those who paid under $300, Peggy recommends considering sending email explaining the situation because perhaps people can re-look at what they sent and perhaps send some more. This is useful information to share.

Has Lisa heard from Franklin (after Peggy wired him OSI-US funds for his accepted proposal)? Tanya has confirmed receipt of payment. Lisa heard that Franklin received funds and is making some tricky plane reservations to try to get from Cambodia to San Francisco. He has not yet sent registration; Lisa has asked him for his needs for additional support or resources for housing or other costs. Tanya’s registration is pending receipt of payment.

Peggy, John, Tree, Christine, Lisa and Doug are registered for the WOSonOS2008. Gabriel and Karen will be unable to join us there due to scheduling conflicts, and send their warm wishes. Ed will try to make it and will know in the next few days. If he cannot make it he would like to contribute $1000 through OSI-US. (a deep bow to Ed from Lisa)

Question from Peggy - Since OSI is also an inviter for the conference, does that mean we waive the processing fee?

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Agreement to pass all funds donated to the WOSonOS2008 / Access Queen for the WOSonOS2008 to straight through - waiving the 10% administration and processing fees. Warm thanks from Lisa.

Peggy has sent a note to Franklin with a copy to Lisa asking for confirmation of receipt of wired OSI funds; Franklin has replied that the money has been received. Lisa will mention to the Host Team that idea to send a note to all registrants who have registered at under the per-person cost to offer them the opportunity to donate additional funds. Peggy has sent a check from OSI to Lisa for the full $350 of Henri Lipmanowicz’s donation (Lisa already sent Henri a warm thank you for his donation).

3. Selection of Officers and Annual Report and Annual Member Meeting (Peggy)

Each year Board members step up to play the roles of Officers, speaking to the passion of stepping into a given role. It is time to do so again and send in the official papers. For this last 2007-8 year, Gabriel has been President, Lisa Vice President, John Secretary and Peggy Treasurer. Discussion as to whether we could do it in our next call but our next call is not until August and we felt it was useful to decide on this now and not in a general membership meeting.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Selection of officers. Peggy - Treasurer, Gabriel - Secretary, Lisa - President, Christine - Vice President

Peggy will mail in the papers indicating the current officers. She will also prepare the numbers for the Annual Member Meeting. And she will check in with all Directors on this Board to see if they wish to continue as Directors.

Note that - as is typical, we will be holding our Annual Member Meeting in-person at the WOSonOS2008, this July. So our next phone meeting will be in August.

4. Girl Scout Convention Video - Status, Pricing, Availability Online (Christine)

It is still in the works so we do not have copies yet - but soon it will have to be sent out as part of voting member training packet. Birgitt had asked several questions - we have not gotten back to her. The video is also being offered to the World Cafe community, not just the OS community. It helps (as does the US West video) to have people see OS on a large scale.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Christine will get back to us regarding the final word.

5. Emerging from the Girl Scout Work: Self Organization in Small Time Frames (Christine)

The theme of the Girl Scout convention is ‘Girl Scouts Can Lead Anywhere’. Throughout the conference there will be the sharing and capturing of Girl Scout leadership stories - conversations throughout the event in different kinds of formats. There will be a pre-conference Open Space for a group of about 1,000. Opening Night will include a turn-to-your-neighbor appreciative conversation (a big thing for this group to do anything other than a standard big production on Opening Night). A stewardship report will be delivered in multiple voices in an interactive format so people can talk about the field and the movement; afterwards a Cafe-like process will happen where Board members can answer questions about a proposal (‘Proposal Cafe’). There will be a morning with the biggest block of dialogue time - 3.5 hours - originally proposed as Open Space but declined. Christine and Gabriel are seeking input for what that process could be - 6,000 people who by that point need to identify personal actions on behalf of the movement(and document that). By the way - throughout the entire conference girls will wander through the groups and events and capture stories on cell phones and video cameras.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Christine will talk with Peggy about the Journalism that Matters gatherings - as this GS conference includes a social entrepreneur aspect. Christine feels that the focus of this conference is on story and on participatory democracy.

Christine has put out a call for any of us who have indicated an interest in helping on large-process design - to gather ideas for that 3.5 hour action identification segment. At this point the call will be on this Wednesday.

6. Book Pricing (Peggy)

Third Edition of Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide is now out. Our practice is to price at $20% below market. Book is now $30 so we can sell for $24 - we pay 50% of retail plus shipping (works out to about $17 / book for this book). Our 2 principle sources of revenue are product sales (unpublicized, very slow) and donations (in past has typically run 50-50 between those 2 sources). This year product sales have probably been lower - Peggy will run the numbers for the Member Meeting. DVDs - we make more money selling DVDs - these currently sell at $40 and costs per are $8-10 each. Question: Harrison willing to give his portion of the proceeds of sale through OSI to OSI? Probably a lot to ask of him -and- it’s a royalty check once a year from Berrett-Koehler.

Christine orders these books for the workshops - through Amazon, because it is easier. If we are going to sell books, what is the incentive to come through us? Ours are cheaper. Other notes: A lot of our orders are international. We pay for shipping when we buy them from BK. Customers pay for shipping to customers. We have a distributor and they are paid something like 5% of the selling price. We increased our shipping costs to $7 - there is also a $2.50 charge per order, not passed on to our buyers. Buying the book through OSI in quantity - is negotiable. Standard price is 20% off retail. If you buy 10 or more a deeper discount (not a standard rate, but a conversation) is possible. In the past we have offered 25-30% perhaps for non-profit / bulk sales. Christine buys her copies on Amazon for $24. Peggy says we could get the World Cafe and Appreciative Inquiry books (also BK books) at our same BK discount.

Assuming volume is as we are doing currently (not much) could we have our site link through Amazon - which could give us less % but everything could be handled from there? It’s also about making the books as accessible as possible to as broad an audience as possible - pricing is a key element of that. So - would it make sense to do anything differently than what we are currently doing? Regarding the benefit / cost to us of the way we are handling it - Christine’s desire is to get more out there - dissemination more than raising money. We would be an Amazon partner - link to Amazon and we get credit (for a percentage of the sale). We would have to look at the numbers - we could increase numbers purchased if we said ‘please buy through us’. However it would be harder to track what comes through us - folks could just go to Amazon and we would not know the difference. The benefits of continuing in our same way? It is set up and working, we have a hunch that as large number of orders are international we may cost less to international folks. If someone wanted to community build it could be an avenue of attracting membership and conversation. There is also the potential for quality interaction, and it’s homier than going through Amazon. Could have text welcoming to OS community / where to learn more? Peggy does add folks who purchase things to our mailing list (which couldn’t happen through Amazon).

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Agreement to keep everything as is -and- discuss how our funds are raised - how to increase our money. This would not be the way - DVDs would be likely.

Lisa sent some sample text to Peggy that might be a welcome / join us on OSLIST message.

Keep the revenue generation topic in the bin.

Lisa mentions that one possibility could be to offer the disc version of her “Open Space Idea Book” as one of our products. She has to generate some income from those however this seems as if it would be product that we could talk about, price accordingly and offer. We will discuss this in a future meeting.


NEXT MEETING: In-Person, Open Membership / Open to New Members Meeting at the WOSonOS2008 (Lisa, Peggy, Doug, Tree, Christine and John will be at the WOSonOS2008; Ed’s looking into the possibility)

AUGUST MEETING: Friday August 15 10:30 am PDT / 11:30 am MDT / 12:30 pm CDT / 1:30 pm EDT / 9:30 pm GMT (third Fridays)

BIN for August 15, 2008 OSI(US) Board meeting:

1. Learning from the Experience with Chandi (All)
2. Grants and Payments to Individuals (Doug)
3. Dealing with Frequently Absent Board Members - How do we feel about this? (Phelim)
4. Revenue Generation, Book Pricing, Disc Version of Lisa’s Open Space Idea Book (Peggy, Lisa)
5. Funding to Trainers to Underserved Areas, Perhaps as an Alternative to Funding People to Attend WOSonOS2008 (Doug, Christine)
6. Annual Member Meeting and WOSonOS2008 Reflection (All)
7. Girl Scout Convention Video - Status, Pricing, Availability Online (Christine)
8. Emerging from the Girl Scout Work: Self organization in small time frames (Christine)

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