Harrison Owen Papers

These papers were produced over the years by Harrison Owen and published in many places. Most are no longer available anywhere else.

After the Rage – (Harrison’s last paper) As a world, we are obviously in a critical moment. Lots of Chaos, confusion and conflict. And … there are also signs of renewal — colonized peoples are finding the dignity and voice, forgotten peoples left out of the contemporary world are discovering their place. A great deal of moving and shaking, painful for everybody, but hopeful for all. I believe we can actually make it, but somewhere along the line we will have to deal with the Rage that has manifest itself, coming from the discomfiture of the departure of the old way of doing business and whatever is coming next. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I think I know where to start. The attached, “After the Rage” is my best effort to the the moment. I believe it is a moment of birth. Tell your own story!

A Fool’s Errand – Attempting to sell OST is a fool’s errand. The reason is simple. Any well trained manager knows intuitively that the proffered package must be a fraud.

Bursting Bubbles: Opening Your Space to a Larger World and Alchemy and the “N” Word – on mitigating the scourge of racism and transforming the “N” word.

Unfinished Business… There are two adventures I would love to undertake. Both require time, skills, and knowledge that I no longer possess. I have dabbled at the edge, getting far enough to feel that the ground is fertile, but mostly untilled…

In Awe of the Sacred Musing, in late 2017, on the Sacred, becoming human, expanding horizons, and inviting others to share a profound sense of awe, outside of time, in any place.

Opening Space for Emerging Order  A brief history of Open Space. First published in the OD Practitioner it is suggested that the remarkable things that happen in Open Space have nothing to do with the magic of Open Space, but rather the prior reality of self-organizing systems.

The Business of Business is Learning An occasional paper done in 1989 suggesting that the real business of business is learning to do the business better. This paper became the basis for several Open Space conference in India and in the United States.

A Brief User’s Guide The original Guide to Open Space. Not much here, but it was all we had until the arrival of Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide (Barrett-Koehler, 1997)

Learning as Transformation First published in In Context suggests that genuine learning is transformational, and that Transformation is learning.

Spirit Shows Up Originally intended as a chapter in a book edited by Peter Vaill, but the book never happened. The subject is Spirit and its appearance in Open Space.

Mythos This is the original first chapter of the book, Spirit: Transformation and Development in Organizations, published by ABBOTT PUBLISHING in 1987. It is out of print.

Future of Hampton Roads A case study from Spirit: Transformation and Development.

Eastern Virginia Medical Authority A case study from Spirit: Transformation and Development.

The Internal Revenue Service A case study from Spirit: Transformation and Development.

Mythic Transformation  An interview with Harrison Owen which appeared in In Context.

Resolution An article by Harrison Owen published in The Journal for Quality and Participation

Opening Space for Peace A brief report regarding a gathering of 50 Palestinians and Israelis in Rome, searching for Peace.

Opening Space for The Question Some thoughts about Knowledge Management as seen through the eyes of Open Space.

What We Have Learned  (opens in new tab) This year, 2005, Open Space Technology will be 20 years old. Over the course of this period, thousands of people all over the world have opened space for millions of their fellow humans. And in the process we have all learned a tremendous amount about Open Space, about the way it works, and why it does, about ourselves. Participants on OSLIST share their learning with anybody who cares.

Turtles I Conference Proceedings (opens in new tab) A small group of brave souls took the leap. What if there were no such thing as a non-self-organizing system? In fact — it was and is self-organizing all the way down, up and sideways. What would life be like in such organizations? Read the conference proceedings and find out. And if you are intrigued be prepared for Turtles II, currently scheduled for April 1, 2006.

Opening Space in Eastern Europe Joe Topher and his colleagues tell a wonderful story of OST training in Eastern Europe — and what happened 8 years later. the article appeared in the newsletter of the International Association of Facilitators.

Everything is Moving  This paper began as a piece of whimsey, but as often occurs in such situations the whimsey turned serious. The basic thought is that we live in an energetic cosmos. From the moment of the Big Bang until now we and all that surrounds us is a vast flowing field of energy. Not exactly a revolutionary idea, but one that presents real difficulties for those of us (which is most of us) who choose to view our world as consisting of static clumps and things — such as our organizations, businesses, and social institutions. We think we can hold them still — which is an illusion which gets us in a lot of difficulties and causes no small amount of pain. But how to escape our illusion? I think Open Space can help.

New York Training Program   Karen Davis, Ralph Copleman and Harrison Owen offer their annual training program in New York. Always deep and fun filled. You are invited.

TWG / Organization Transformation    The “birthplace” of Open Space was the 3rd International Symposium on Organization Transformation which occured in Monterey California in 1983. It was an exciting time to say the least with new people, new thinking, and endless possibilities. We never had an organization, it was more like an energy field which quickly circled the world enfolding like minded folks who chose to share their learning. The Internet did exist, but in very primitive form, and vehicles like Facebook were far in the future. What we had was a good old Newsletter called TWG. If you want to catch something of the Spirit take a look at this small selection of early editions.

August Morning    A short note to myself, and anybody else who might care, about future possibilities emerging from our 25 year learning experience with Open Space Technology, understood as a marvelous natural experiment

Open Space and Beyond…   This paper will appear as a Chapter in a book from Jossey-Bass. It doesn’t break any new ground, but does provide a reasonable sumary of the Open Space experience to date (at least my Open Space experience) with a nod to the future.