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December 03, 2003

University of the Stars & Open Space Storytelling 

The piece on Wilkinson reminds me of one of my favourite network projects of the last quarter: University of the Stars- finding an upcoming superstar the opposite of their usual agent to mentor them on some responsibility Brand Me (mission in life). Uni of Stars works on a free trade basis- we'll find a start a mentor of a deep subject of their choice and free resources- in return the star helps with a guest appearnce for a cause related to their chosen mission

Meanwhile Open Space & Storytelling have gelled as the way I'm not as sure as I get that any group who want to go beyond anything, can. Firstly if UK banks and the treasury are using this dymnamic methodology duo brilliantly, its time to believe any power can. Secondly this conversational extract among the alumni and the oracle of Open Space, seems to me worth pasting here:

cc writes:
I think we are in a time when our stories about who we are and where we have come from are changing and paradigms are coming to rub against each other in deep ways. OST is a process predicated on the fact that all of us can have a hand in creating the new world. It is nearly the very extreme example of that, in the world of organizational development.

Other methods rely on facilitators or experts (sometimes called "management gurus" which isn't far from being gods) to come in and fix
things, banish the bad and tinker with the good. It's easy to see results when evil is banished. That is a tangible step towards the
"better world" demanded by cynics. It's much harder to see tangible results from a process where the first step towards making a safe place for your babies is to smear the back of a turtle with mud.

H.O. writes:
ChrisC – you have certainly moved the discussion in what I would consider to be wonderful new territory. There is no question in my mind that we are – to a very large extent – the stories we tell. Not the trivial little tales that appear in the morning newspapers, but the deep stories that constitute our mythic consciousness.

There used to be a day when the power of these deep stories was appreciated, but in recent times they are dismissed with the light thought that they are “just a story.” And of course we all know that only the “facts” will do. And when it comes to myths, these are not only dismissed, but dissed. Worse than a story, myth now means lie and falsehood. How the world changes. And of course, for enlightened people such as ourselves, we have long since thrown off the bondage of myth. How sad. And we never really do – throw it off, that is. We simply develop new ones, and they of course, are understood to be The Truth, or better yet Scientific Truth. But it is still a story, now dressed up in different clothes. We call them “Theories” – but at the end of the day, these Theories are simply likely stories which help us interpret our world. So our essential nature hasn’t changed – we are still story tellers whose life expectations are shaped by the stories we tell. Myth by any other name. What is different now is that the formative power of these tales is somehow out of our awareness. And when the stories are warped, distorted or partial – the world and our space in that world is distorted and shrunk. Of course, we could tell a different story. . .

And I think that new story creation is a major part of what happens in Open Space. But it is not so much telling a story as being a story.

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