Radio Open Source

A lively example of what happens in an inviting open space: presented by WGBH Radio Boston and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI),

Open Source with Christopher Lydon is a conversation, four times a week on the radio and any time you like on the blog. We designed the show to invert the traditional relationship between broadcast and the web: we aren’t a public radio show with a web community, we’re a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.

This means that we rely on our listeners and readers — whom David Sifry calls “the people formerly known as your audience” to help us produce the show. At its most basic, we look for this production help in the comment threads of this website. Every time we have an idea for an hour of radio we post it to the site. That show may not go on the radio for another month, but we immediately start reading comments — suggestions for guests, questions for guests, suggestions for ways to frame the show or reading material — and following up on them.

You, the people formerly known as the audience, know more than we do. Frequent commenter razib understands — intimately — how DNA testing works; sidewalker sometimes weighs in about his adopted country of Japan; jeffakboston helped us with a list of theoretical physicists. So pick your handle and name your obsession. We’re reading.

And we’re watching the rest of the Internet, too. We look at every blogger as a “fixer,” a journalist’s term for someone with local knowledge, someone who speaks the language and can tell us who to talk to. We try to get a blogger on every show, whether we’re talking about knitting or Belarus. Almost every picture on the site comes from the photo-sharing site Flickr, and we try to get the story behind the pictures like the one taken from the 10th floor of the Fariyas Hotel in Mumbai

Conversations are happening everywhere on the web, and they’re not just about computers or Star Trek. They’re about God and the world, people taking pictures and and comparing notes of what they see around them. It’s why we chose to run our website as a blog; a blog functions naturally as a conversation, asking for input and correction and responding in turn. Broadcast media can’t just be a bullhorn anymore; it has to be an invitation, or it misses out on some of the best stuff happening around it.

Open Source was conceived and developed by Christopher Lydon and Mary McGrath and is a joint production of Open Source Media Inc. and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Pioneers of Change Summer School

pioneers of change poster

The Pioneers of Change “Summer School” is taking place August 19-25. This year it is hosted at the “Shire“, an inspiring learning centre in Nova Scotia, Canada, that focuses on leadership and sustainable practices, and which has been launched by a fellow pioneer, social entrepreneur, and artist, Tim Merry.

Pioneers of Change is a global learning network of young people, in their 20’s and 30’s, who have committed to be themselves, do what matters, start now, engage with others, and never stop asking questions. The “pioneers” include social entrepreneurs, corporate and NGO professionals, civil servants, artists, teachers, and free agents from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds. Founded in 1999, Pioneers of Change today engages over 2000 participants in over 70 countries.

Our intention for Summer School is to create a much space as possible for Pioneers from around the world to learn from each other. We invite you to come prepared to share experiences, case studies, tools, models and anything from your Pioneering work that you think could benefit other Pioneers. Together we can create a rich, diverse and highly self-organized learning environment.
Find the full invitation and intention here.

For more information or questions about financing participation, please email Sera (sera|at| or Pablo (pablo|at|

About Unconferences…

There’s a report from YABOU about a talk at BayCHI by Kaliya Hamlin about Unconferences. Here’s an excerpt:

Kaliya defined unconferences as lying between a conference with a structured agenda and a cocktail party – this is where unconferences live. She outlined the important elements of a successful unconference:

The invitation and how it is framed, the wiki where ideas and tentative plans can be posted, as well as a list of who will be there (it has been amazing to see the list grow for DCamp), and the welcoming on the actual day. Kaliya gave examples of having public sign-in lists, big, sometimes illustrated. Name-tags are essential because identity is essential. Activities that have worked in the past have included having attendees represented by their caricature, and having people bring or develop logo’s related to their work.

Essay on importance of organizational chaos

Came across an essay by Barbara Park: Identity Construction and Organizational Deconstruction Building a Personal Sense of Identity and Allowing Organizational Chaos as Adaptive Measures Toward KM in the Information Age. She pulls together some interesting research and thinking by Margaret Wheatley and others. Here’s an excerpt:

These are uncertain times in which rapid change is making many demands upon individuals and organizations. This essay demonstrates that in letting go of an identification with organization, individuals move toward a deeper sense of personal identity. The self awareness and acceptance of diversity that can accompany this shift is complementary to post-bureaucratic organizational structures. Increasingly, the value of chaos, the admission of loss of control, is recognized as a precursor to an organizational structure that fosters creativity. In priorizing a trusting and open way of interacting in which shared goals are the focus, organizations and their members trade security for creativity.

National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

The 2006 NCDD conference will take place in San Francisco, California August 4-6, with pre-conference trainings on Thursday, August 3rd. If you are dedicated to solving group and societal problems through honest talk, quality thinking and collaborative action, we invite you to join us at this innovative gathering. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Parc 55, a beautiful hotel in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

Founded in 2002, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation is a vibrant network of over 500 organizations and individuals who, collectively, regularly engage and mobilize millions of people across the globe around today’s critical issues. NCDD’s national conferences and resource-rich website are crucial to the development of this emerging field of practice.

Democracy’s Challenge

Democracy’s Challenge forums encourage citizens to think about what they can do to strengthen the relationship that a democracy demands between the government and its people. The issue book presents three perspectives on the problem, each of which suggests a somewhat different course of action.

Right now you are invited to take advantage of a limited time offer for free materials to use for convening a Democracy’s Challenge forum. The free materials in each set include 1 copy of the full-length Democracy’s Challenge issue discussion guide, 30 copies of the 8-page issue discussion-guide-in-brief, 1 copy of the moderator’s guide, and 1 video.

If you think you want to get involved in NIF or in the Democracy’s Challenge issue, or you’d like to help us get the word out about this opportunity, we encourage you to:

– Order your free set of Democracy’s Challenge materials by calling 1-800-600-4060, or to download the moderator’s guide or issue brief.

– Connect with the NIF network contacts nearest you. These network hubs, listed at, provide trainings and workshops, organize forums, and connect NIF folks in their region.

– Sign up to receive NIF e-newsletters and stay informed about network activities. Email Patty Dineen with your name, email address, and mailing address (or just city and state) and ask her to add you to the NIF News email list.

– Look up moderator trainings in your area.

Download “For Convenors and Moderators: Organizing for Public Deliberation and Moderating a Forum”

– Tell others about this issue, and share this invitation to join the NIF network.

via Sandy Heierbacher on the OSLIST

Christina Baldwin has new book out

Christina Baldwin, best know to this audience as the originator of Peerspirit Circling and author of, “Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture”, has published a new work called, “Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story”.

Some excerpts from the Preface:

We make our lives bigger or smaller, more expansive or more limited, according to the interpretation of life that is our story. We are the storytellers, the ones who put life into words.

Events become real when we organize experience into narrative: we literally cannot think without words. People become real when we put interaction into words: story is the foundation of relationship. With words alone we can create connection, establish community.

Something is happening in these stories and in this book and in our lives. It is the time of the Storycatcher. It is the time when those who understand the value of story and practice the art of connection have an essential role to play….Storycatchers invite the stories we most need to come forward into the community.

Girl Scouts USA – Opening Strategic Conversations

Christine Whitney Sanchez writes:

Claudia Haack and I are excited to share our report to the Girl Scouts of the USA on the “Open Strategic Conversations” capacity building project which culminated in large events at the Girl Scout National Convention. Naturally, the Girl Scouts have given us their permission to share this with you.

On October 7, 2005, an Open Space on Governance was held for more than 1600 delegates and over the following 3 days Strategy Caf̩s attracted over 3000 participants. These events were eagerly awaited by 100 volunteers Рthe core of the capacity building effort who we had trained in Open Space and World Cafe. They had self-organized for planning and implementation before, during and after the convention to become the logistics backbone for these events.

The “Smooth Operators,” as they called themselves, captured the spirit and imagination of what lies in the future for Girl Scouting and have gone on to facilitate many Open Space events and World Cafe conversations in their local Girl Scout councils and their communities at large.

Classic on Bohmian Dialogue

Richard Burg and The Centre for Group Learning have assembled a resource on Bohmian Dialogue that includes the classic paper, “Dialogue: A Proposal” by David Bohm, Donald Factor, and Peter Garrett, as well as a letter from Donald Factor to Bill Isaacs and Margaret Wheatley discussing the main differences he sees between their approach and Bohmian dialogue. Contains thought-provoking material for what we experience in Open Space events. Here are a few short excerpts:

Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real communication between individuals, nations and even different parts of the same organization. In our modern culture men and women are able to interact with one another in many ways: they can sing, dance, or play together with little difficulty but their ability to talk together about subjects that matter deeply to them seems invariably to lead to dispute, division and often to violence. In our view this condition points to a deep and pervasive defect in the process of human thought.

Because the nature of Dialogue is exploratory, its meaning and its methods continue to unfold. No firm rules can be laid down for conducting a Dialogue because its essence is learning – not as the result of consuming a body of information or doctrine imparted by an authority, nor as a means of examining or criticizing a particular theory or programme, but rather as part of an unfolding process of creative participation between peers.

A Dialogue works best with between twenty and forty people seated facing one another in a single circle. A group of this size allows for the emergence and observation of different subgroups or subcultures that can help to reveal some of the ways in which thought operatives collectively., This is important because the differences between such subcultures are often an unrecognized cause of failed communication and conflict.

A Collection of Papers about OS

Lisa Heft is a valuable member of the Open Space learning community. In addition to working with business leaders, faith communities, peacemakers, young people, violence survivors, educators, scientists, prisoners, union and management representatives, conference organizers, researchers, activists and government representatives, she also maintains a website which provides a plethora of resources about Open Space and other related topics. Below are some papers that she has compiled from conversations in the OSLIST archive.