Ming the Mechanic:
Structures for Change Conference

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Structures for Change Conference2002-06-12 22:10
by Flemming Funch

I try to go to some conference every month or two, to stay in touch with what is out there, and to connect with real people. The conference I just went to,
Structures for Change in Seattle, represents what I most enjoy when I go. The focus was on the people who came, not on any presenters, because there largely weren't any. And it was run by Open Space principles.

For those who don't know and haven't tried it, Open Space is a format for self-organization in some setting where there is a group of people present. Anybody can propose a sub-group on any topic, and propose the activities that will take place in that group. Some people might come, or maybe nobody shows up, or maybe everybody shows up. Either way, it is what was supposed to happen. People are free to move around and go to a different group, according to the "law of two feet". In my view this is one of the most meaningful ways of organizing a conference.

But, as I've noticed in other settings working by similar rules, it also means that some people end up walking away in frustration, because the whole group doesn't end up talking about what THEY think they should have been talking about, and they probably don't end up all agreeing on anything. But, in reality, the majority of the people there will have ended up spending their time on the subjects they wanted to work on, with the people they wanted to work on them with.

So, I was part of groups discussing the evolution of society, groups talking about the inter-personal obstacles we run into, groups playing games to creatively try to figure out how to get from "here" to "there". And I spent a good deal of time talking about how all of our different groups might potentially share something. A database, a way of communicating, a directory, etc. Well, I guess I'm mainly interested in focusing on the technical elements that might connect all of "us" together. But we looked at it from different angles, such as what it would feel like. At any rate, I feel it is closer than before.

What is accomplished at a conference like that is probably a lot of little connections formed, which might become something big later. And people from many different groups connect with a common beat of some kind that they're beating to.

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13 Jun 2002 @ 02:10 by shawa : If people in here...
... were willing to do a coherent process, this member Area would be amply sufficient to go wherever it is needed that humanity go at this point of space and time, because the microcosm that NCN is reflects the macrocosm that the Western world is down to the last details. I see this, let it be known that I will stand for it, even if nobody else does.  

13 Jun 2002 @ 12:10 by swan : I am with Shakti-I see it too.
Now there are two of us standing together.  

13 Jun 2002 @ 22:57 by shawa : Just a note about my comment above...
... No, no "patriotism", just a suggestion. I´m totally OK with open spaces and free structures. I see the potential for coherent process, though. And a multiplicity of talents. And it could be done quietly, in a corner, as it were. This is definitely not an intent of "take over" or a limiting idea. No, sir.  

14 Jun 2002 @ 00:36 by ming : Emerging Order
Yeah, I'm all for order emerging. And things certainly happen much more effectively when there is coherency present. The main distinction I'd like to make is that it is about *discovering* the order and the coherency - allowing it to emerge - noticing and celebrating when it is there. As opposed to somebody trying to force the order, by making up their mind in advance about what it is "supposed" to be.

I like open space and creative diversity. That doesn't mean I think things are supposed to be chaotic and uncontrolled. The whole point is for order to emerge, for alignments to happen, for coherency of action to take place. Freely. In the real world, not in somebody's head.  

16 Jun 2002 @ 23:00 by magical_melody : Yes Ming! I like the comment above.
Coherency and alignments are truly about people working in compliment. Count me in on opening to the emerging process of the group as it allows diversity and yet coherency. Listening and following the inner voice and responding in life from this place will certainly support this process. Love, Alana  

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