Spent the day yesterday at the 18th Annual Gathering for Changing Maine. This yearly event is one that I have gone to many times but yesterday was special. The theme this year was “Visions and Strategies for the Occupy Movement in Maine.” At the end of the day during the wrap up session one young man stood up and said that he thought this type of gathering was unique in the Occupy Movement and that we should think about expanding it and taking it on the road to the rest of the country. That along with the information that the Lincoln Park camp in Portland is one, if not the, oldest continuous Occupy campsite in the country made me once again very proud that I am politically active and living in Maine.
Too much happened to talk about in one of my brief blog posts but as the notes from the meetings start coming to me via email I will post those ideas that came out of the small sessions that seem the most noteworthy. But the over arching structure of the meeting deserves some space.
Let’s start with a quote from Michael Herman who is one of the creators of the “Open Space Meeting” technique: We don’t do “Open Space” just because it’s fun. We do it to invite important projects, relationships, strategies, and measurements to move quickly in a positive direction.
The first part of this concept is “The Law of 2 Feet” aka known as the law of personal mobility. If at any time you find you’re not contributing or learning, you have the right and responsibility to go somewhere else. I love this part. No more sitting through meetings for the sake of meetings. Hurrah!!!
So here are the rules of Open Space Meetings:
1) Whoever shows up are the right people.
2)Whenever it starts is the right time.
3) Whatever happens are the only things that could have happened.
4) Whenever it’s over it’s over.