「哈里森‧歐文(Harrison Owen) 專訪：接納順應萬物自然節奏與自發性組織狀態」
開放空間科技是一種組織會議或引導團體的模式，而對許多引導者來說，開放空間是一種生活型態。以下的文章是Ashley Cooper在Mycelium school，針對自發性組織、架構、邀約及甚至是悲傷等議題，專訪開放空間科技創辦人哈里森‧歐文(Harrison Owen)的精華內容。
Harrison Owen interview:
Inviting Flow and Self-Organisation
March 2014 Dialogue Newsletter
Open Space Technology is a method for organising meetings or facilitating groups; and for many practitioners Open Space is a way of life. The following is an interview with Harrison Owen, the founder of Open Space Technology, to learn his views on self-organization, structure, invitation and even grief.
Even though the invention of Open Space is attributed to you, you’ve been pretty firm in your stance that you didn’t invent it. Could you explain what you mean by this?
The concept behind Open Space is self-organizing and it’s been going on for roughly 13.7 billion years. The process works and I didn’t create it. I didn’t discover anything. I was desperate. I needed to run a meeting, I didn’t know how, and I had a whole lot of folks coming.
So as long as people try to understand Open Space as some group process that somebody called Harrison Owen invented, then they’re going to try to invent ways to make it better or different or whatever. The actual truth of the matter is that Harrison Owen didn’t invent it, he has no claim on it and it runs totally by itself. That’s why they call it self-organization. Organizing a self-organizing system is not only an oxymoron, it’s stupid.
What is the role of structures when it comes to getting things done and encouraging self-organization?
You’re talking to the wrong guy when you’re talking about structure. The most productive work groups that I’ve ever seen have virtually no prescribed structure. They may say they do and they may say they follow the plans, but the truth of the matter is that once they’re in the game, whatever that game is, they’re inventing it as they go and responding to whatever. And that comes from generals, football players, managers, Nobel Laureates, etc. Anybody who ever thinks they ever follow the plan is full of bullshit.
This is going to sound totally heretical, but think about it, structure is very simply a figment of our imagination. Everything from the fiscal world to environmental groups is an ongoing process. It’s all energy, it’s all flow. And what we do is we take a snapshot and we say, “This is the way it is.” Well that’s the way it was 25 milliseconds ago. But the truth of the matter is, it’s always in flow. So in a way, structure is kind of a crutch to allow us to think we have some control and understanding of the environment we’re in.
What is the power of invitation?
Invitation is what makes life rich. With an invitation, you make it clear that you respect people as human beings. And that’s true if you’re talking about a start-up, a major corporation, or your birthday party. If somebody says, “You will get your ass over here and do such-and-such”, I know immediately my life is impoverished. But if someone says to me, “Harrison, we’d really love to have you and come and be yourself and do what you can”, then I’m all on board.
For me, Open Space is simply life. When I’m invited, I’m there. When I’m commanded, I don’t show up. And I don’t think I’m different than any of the other 7 ½ billion or so people on the planet. Any time there’s ever been a group we’ve worked with that have responded to a real invitation that they could accept or turn down, and came because they cared to come, great things happened. That’s not just Open Space; that’s Tahrir Square. That’s Tiananmen Square. That’s Arab Spring. That’s the American Revolution. That’s every time people around this planet have responded passionately to something they seriously cared about and took responsibility for it.
When it comes to people taking responsibility for what they are really passionate about and being a part of transformation and change, grief can sometimes be a part of the process. Can you talk about the importance of grief and grieving?
The one important course that should be taught in all business schools is being there through grief work. I mean the one thing that is an absolute constant phenomenon of our existence is that things end. A lot of people think, “Well, isn’t that terrible?” I think, no, it’s wonderful. The truly wonderful thing about existence is that stuff shows up, it has its day and then it passes on. Grief work is an individual and an organizational thing. It’s a process we all go though and we can help people through it. I think that’s something worthwhile doing, verses sitting in meetings which I think is a waste of time.
What do you think about the fact that processes like Open Space are becoming more known and accepted?
For whatever it’s worth, I find myself feeling that we are right on the edge of a serious transformational movement. Truth of the matter is nobody transforms anything. Transformation means dying to one way so something else can happen. And I think we’re in the midst of this. I see Open Space as a sign and not a cause, indicating that we’re getting to the point that the notion of us being in charge and doing things the way the management books say we should, is finally breaking through as bullshit. It’s finally becoming clear enough, to enough people, that the process of control, control, control has reached the end of effectiveness.
I think the next serious discussion is – given that we ARE a self-organizing system, now what? We can accept that we aren’t going to organize a self-organizing system, but we can learn to flow with it. Every sailor, skier, and surfer does it. That doesn’t mean there’s no skill or nothing we can to do to optimize performance.
My hope would be to somehow make human life more human.” ~Harrison Owen