Creative Dreaming Spaces
A leading learning and development company in Sydney wanted to generate creative new ideas for growing what it was already doing so well. The entire team of 20 people hired a large country house in the mountains and spend a weekend in ‘Open Space Technology’ format, allowing people to dream expansively and have a lot of fun and fine dining in the process. At the end of the weekend, the group collaboratively short-listed some projects to develop further. One of these ideas generated a major new line of business and a doubling of the size of the company.
A church in Brisbane which was going through major disruptive change wanted to generate safe spaces where people could talk freely about current challenges and future directions. Over several years, facilitators were equipped to lead collaborative learning and listening circles. The church also convened one full day Open Space conference for 450 people without a predetermined agenda (impossible but true!). People got to talk about what they actually cared about, in multiple self-organised parallel sessions, rather than what the formal leadership told them they should care about.
"When leaders of three large community based organisations invited Michael Wood to conduct an Open Space to help work out how we could all work better to reduce the fracturing of families, we knew that we wanted to do something more creative than running a forum.
What we wanted was someone to help us develop a dynamic space in which concerned people could move past their distress and would feel invigorated and safe enough to share their dreams about change. Indeed we called it a dreaming exercise.
It was an outstanding success. Unanimous approval from seventy participants who chose to be there is a rare event. And the energy continues as we now develop the strategies.
- Maria Harries, Mercy Care