Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On Harrison Owen´s 80th birthday

From Jeff Aitken via OSList

This fun and touching poem for Harrison was just put on Facebook by Rodney B. Plimpton. Enjoy.
"A few old time friends gathered in DC to celebrate Harrison's 80th last week, and toasted him with this:  

To Harrison H. Owen on his 80th Birthday

On December Second, Nineteen Thirty Five,
Harrison Owen did arrive.
No way that his parents could have known,
The fruits of the seeds that they had sown.
Early on he seemed a normal boy,
Though he preferred catching skunks to playing with toys.
But then Seminary, a stint as a biblical scholar?
Clearly not chasing the Almighty Dollar!
Community Organizer, way down in Dixie;
Peace Corps in Liberia, where things were quite tricxy.
Then back to DC, NIH, and VA;
A strange game indeed, that he chose to play.
Biblical Studies and Bureaucracy in the heart of the Nation
Combined in his head as Organizational Transformation!
After hosting some conferences that were way too much work,
He woke up one day, and said “I’m such a jerk!;
While agendas and details all keep me awake
The things people come for are good coffee breaks!”

From that realization, however belated,
His famed Open Space soon was created
From a simple experiment, thirty years ago,
The phenomenon has continued to grow
Now, thirty years, and nine books later,
It’s world-wide success could not be greater.
Self-Organization is at its’ core,
But Harrison’s message says so much more:
We’ve all been taught that Management’s Role
Is to Plan, Organize, Direct, and Control –
That’s all wrong, said this radical boy
Envision, Engage, Empower, Enjoy!The paradox is -- by controlling the least
You get both High Performance and a true sense of Peace.
Results speak for themselves, and by any measure,
Harrison’s thinking has become a World Treasure.
But what of the man whom we know as our neighbor;
Modest, laid back, full of stories to savor?
On high seas he commands the Ethelyn Rose,
But on land who commands nobody knows!
One thing is for certain, we love and adore
This world-famous guru -- our good friend next door.
Congratulations, Harrison, on your 80th; you done good."


Suzanne Daigle via OSList

abe. 3 (Duela 6 egun)
Helbide honetara: OSLIST
Hi Everyone, 

It's hard to tell how many people popped in yesterday -- 40, 50, 60 or more!!  Sometimes we just saw their names, other times their voices and their faces. It was a wild wonderful ride, a technology adventure of the best kind. Lucas Cioffi ever so dedicated who conceived QiQoChat which created the dream that it would be possible for us to meet in a big house cannot be thanked enough. Fate conspired against us not because of QiQo but because of concurrent tech upgrades that messed us up. Not to worry, all was calm and between Lucas, Michael Herman and I and with the joint participation of all who came, we truly had a blast. We always knew this was an experiment and experiment it was. The possibilities are truly heartwarming.  Many wave riding days ahead!

There were serious topics and serious conversations, lots of hearty laughter, delighted outcries as people joined and others so pleased to meet f2f (virtually) for the very first time. You could feel the affection and interestingly enough, everyone started talking as if they'd known each other forever, because that's truly how it feels when we are part of this Open Space worldwide community.

Harrison with his usual and wonderful aplomb kept the conversation going as we settled into our tech challenges. There were some teary eyed moments as people described what Open Space meant to them and how grateful they were to Harrison.  We even sang a global Happy Birthday, a bit difficult to get all our words coordinated but that was the fun of it all. 

We had a few breaks during the day not many as one stray person after another would arrive on camera. Two by two's talking then suddenly there were three, four, five and more. Always the conversations flowed to invite and include, self-organization as its best. 

It's what a birthday party should be, a mix of everything, over meals and favorite spirits (yes we saw a beer, a glass of wine or two and martinis yes... from Russia) with a slight difference that it was from the comfort of our own homes or offices wherever we happened to be. 

Here is a rough picture album pulled together from computer screen shots. As you scroll down with your mouse, notice how the captions pop up to describe some of the antics of the day. You'll see how late at night Kari from Iceland came joining  Alan Stewart  in Australia who then greeted John Engle from Haiti and his daughter lying on her bed behind him. Seems Alan babysat the Engle kids a long time ago in San Francisco.  Yes many precious memories!

Thank you everyone for making this drop in global party magical. We have much to celebrate from these past 30 years  in Open Space and much to appreciate from the man in a hat, Harrison Owen who celebrated his 80 years.  

Please if you can, do consider joining us at International House in New York where Harrison and Karen Davis, with the help of OSI US, will be hosting their Open Space gathering on High Performance and the Practice of Peace. A great crew of folks have confirmed already. This experiential learning has been going on for 20 years or so and indeed in that time, many have been inspired to open space all over the world after spending three days (used to be 4 days) there. 

Thank you all so much,

From your co-hosts -  Suzanne, Lucas, Michael and the wonderful Anne Stadler who is facilitating an Open Space in India as we speak.

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