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OSI-US Board Meeting September 19, 2008
Thank you for your comments, adjustments, corrections.


9/19/2008 Present: Christine Whitney Sanchez, Elwin Guild, Ed Laboy, Lisa Heft, Doug Germann Sr. Absent: John Engle, Phelim McDermott?, Peggy Holman, Tree Fitzpatrick, Gabriel Shirley, Karen Davis Notes-taker: Lisa Heft

We began by sharing a moment of silence together with the blessing of Elwin’s bells.

1. Revenue Generation for the Corporate World (Elwin)

Elwin, Shaktari Belew and Gijs Van Wezel are soon to have a Skype conference. Gijs is very excited about putting some structure to their ideas of creating a video or dvd that OST facilitators can show when they speak to people in corporate / business communities. Gijs has done a lot of work with Unilever and is interested in seeing if they might help us put something together. This team wishes to frame out their idea for the OSLIST in a way that will gather useful input (‘rather than just chasing the hamster around the wheel’). Lisa noted that one useful thing about the USWEST video is the stages: it interviews participants before the event, the facilitator explains OS as it is shown, participants are interviewed during and afterwards, and then revisited after 6 weeks to look at outcomes / sustainability. That’s just the sort of thing Elwin and team are discussing. One challenge is that some corporations may worry about showing their meetings and ideas to the public. Christine has some footage from Northrup Grummond and is allowed to use a piece if she asks for permission.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Elwin will include Christine and Ed in the team’s coming conference call.

2. Funding to Send Trainers to Underserved Areas etc. (Doug)

Doug’s thought was - rather than fund 2 or 3 people to go to the WOSonOS2008 each year it might be more efficient and effective to fund one or more trainers to train 30 or 40 people somewhere. As he noted conversations at the WOSonOS2008 about climate change, he felt that perhaps we could use training as a vehicle to serve underserved areas with the theme of climate change. Another year or 6 months later we could pick another theme to train OS skills around. Doug, Peggy and Michael Wood are inviting people to connect with each other to do work around climate change. The idea is to pick a time frame (6 months, a year) to try to do these things all around the world as a concerted effort. So for example if someone in Brazil is interested in having us do a climate change event we would do a training before it.

Elwin feels that responding to people requesting training and deploying whichever folks who train who are geographically closest would effectively provide less environmental impact / more training. Lisa has a bit of discomfort - she wants to be very sensitive to listening to what communities and cultures want, not what we have urgency to give them. So if we are choosing or encouraging a theme for a year - that comes from us, not from a community-articulated definition of what their own major issue is. Christine articulates the idea as having them say their needs plus strategizing how to build training into that. ‘What’s going on in your area of the world that perhaps needs training for OS?’

Lisa feels it would be useful for us to put together an outline for what we can provide and what we are asking for from the asker. It is very constructive to have the asker contribute something rather than fly in and do everything. What resources do they have? They may have some we may not even know about. Some have connections to community organizations, some to funders, some to a meeting space and so on. Plus it’s useful for the group on the ground to name what they are bringing to the partnership, rather than simply to receive charity. Elwin agrees - we would ask the host group to provide some contribution in kind such as food, transport or whatever for the trainer(s). He adds that having them fill out a proposal framework provides us with information and allows us to look at what is available within our own resources. Some asks may be beyond our ability to fund.

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Agreed that we are very excited about building local capacity - building capacity is part of what OS has to offer the world community.

Elwin and Lisa will sketch an outline of some generic questions regarding capacity, known resources and so on.

Agreed that it’s also useful to generate a list of who does training - many facilitators do not also do training. Some of us who train also travel a lot - so scheduling is important and that could also reduce some costs. Lisa’s afterthought - it may also be useful to decide on a process for selecting who is assigned to each opportunity - imagining 10 people at once would like to do it.

3. Update on Girl Scout Video and Convention (Christine)

Update on Convention (October 30 through November 2) - Christine is excited that the most amazing folks are attracted to this event / project. Everything is happening a la OS - self-organizing. Nobody is assigned to the work - they go to the parts they feel attracted to. They come onto a wiki, find a job, or just make one up. There are now 90 people on the volunteer list actively working to get things ready - with another wave coming. Everyone is working on nights and weekends...there will be Conversation supporters, girls collecting stories... Christine is so touched by the selfless dedication and passion of these volunteers. Emily Axelrod was visiting the WOSonOS2008 and had lunch with Christine - and ‘darned if she wasn’t an old Girl Scout’. Now Emily is volunteering to head up the measurement and sustainability group. Also Fielding Institute, Juanita Brown of the World Cafe community - Christine is happy and she cannot imagine it without all these energetic colleagues. It is also the best study she has had in the power of self organization - there is no way they could be doing all this in limited time with limited budget going through normal channels. Lisa will facilitate a pre-conference Open Space for several hundred people.

Christine finally has the video in hand, ready to go - also available online. This is also going out to the World Cafe community because the video features both methods. It is not a how-to but more of a case study on how OS was used in 2005. What do we do with it? We have got 40 copies coming to us. Can we get more? Girl Scouts will not produce more but Christine owns the rights and is happy to have the video continually distributed. She does however want to encourage us to do something quickly, as by Spring 2009 there will be another video available including OS and all kinds of other things.

The question is - what do we do with it. We have got 40 copies coming to us. Just list this as a product on the osworld site? What price? Do we recall correctly that we were going to adjust the USWEST price to $25 US and set this at $40?

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Christine will provide a few-sentence description (so ‘shoppers’ would know why to buy it / for what uses) and will get the discs to our distributor. She has the name and address for that contact person.

Note that Christine cannot put this on our product list. Agreed to add this to our products page -with Christine’s description- and also to tell OSLIST. This item goes to the BIN for a check-in next meeting.

Doug has asked Christine to add him to the convention volunteer list, where jobs on-site are listed as well as ideas forming for what else they would like some help with before and during the event.

4. Selling Lisa’s Open Space Idea Book (on Disc) through OSI-US (Lisa)

Lisa created a companion piece to the User’s Guide - more ‘nuts and bolts’ sort of stuff - she uses it in her Open Space Learning Workshops and workshop participants get a copy. It includes some of the papers on her website and additional papers and resources as well. She did a test / talked to folks regarding pricing and is offering it now (for folks who are not in her workshops) for $20 US. This is an income generator for Lisa - but what about offering it through OSI-US products, with a portion of proceeds going to OSI-US?

Actions / Decisions / Agreements :

Lisa will think about what price or percentage OSI-US will have from each sale (recommendations welcome). Doug says it was copyrighted as soon as Lisa created it. Lisa will ask Peggy what details are to be worked out.

Agreement that more resources for practitioners including this are useful. Doug is interested in the idea of offering the ability to download items on our list for a low price and selling them hard-copy for a higher price. Download does not cost us anything besides a place on the web directed to PayPal? and a download location. Doug would like to see a lot of good resources on our site.


NEXT MEETING: Friday October 17 10:30 am PDT / 11:30 am MDT / 12:30 pm CDT / 1:30 pm EDT / 9:30 pm GMT (third Fridays)

BIN for October 17, 2008 OSI-USA Board Meeting:

1. An Open Space DVD for the Corporate World (Elwin) 2. Funding to Send Trainers to Underserved Areas etc. (Doug, Elwin, Lisa) 3. Girl Scout Video (pricing-text-placement) on OSI-US Products List (Christine) 4. Improving the Design of the OSI-US Products Page (Doug) 5. Learning from the Experience with Chandi (All) 6. Frequently Absent Board Members - How Do We Feel About This? (Phelim)


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