“Sustainable Communities" with Margaret Wheatley

Hello Jorie, I have such fond memories of my Taiwan Open Space, it was truly wonderful! Thank you so much for making us feel so very welcome in your country, felt so at home there.

We completed the 6-week Margaret Wheatley program on November 10th. It involved about 48 (1st year university) students, 25 community leaders and 18 faculty (administration and teachers). The theme was creating a Sustainable Tampa Bay community (here in Florida). The goal was to create
relationships between these three groups through reading of Margaret Wheatley’s books and articles so that the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus would ultimately become part of the community. Part of this program for the future involves community grants that will be available
for local community causes that the students will be involved in (either writing or evaluation donation requests from non profit community groups).

We based this curriculum which included 5 sessions of 75 minutes each and then a closing session of 4 hours with Margaret Wheatley on her Art of Hosting (AOH) model. AOH introduces participants to World Café, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, etc. For the first two weeks, we broke people up in small groups using engaging questions (World Cafe style); in the following 3 weeks we did Open Space (2 weeks of emergence with people creating an agenda and having discussions on topics; followed by 1 week of convergence where they developed some quick action steps). I’ve attached a
power point link that shows some of what was accomplished:

Did it work? and Would we do it again? Honestly, it was a lot of work…hours and hours of work to assure that the participants could fully benefit with the time they had together with minimal facilitation (in an Open Space way). I just so wish we had had more time together. As you will see on the photos people really connected and got engaged. At the end, everyone had a chance to be with Margaret Wheatley and because I had to leave for Toronto , I did not get a chance to get all of the feedback. She engaged them much in the same way we had done with small groups geared at
creating relationships. Personally Jorie, I feel that Open Space does so much and the more it goes, the more I am interested in pursuing this because it immediately engages people in the important topics that they are passionate about and trusts that people will connect and engage in
relationship even if there is conflict at times. We just trust that people will find themselves as it is meant to happen. Does this make sense? Do you agree? Or do you see this differently?



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