Reflections on the Open Space event 21 March 2013

Open Space event 21 March 2013We judged the event (details) to be a success with a 100 or so present in the audience. Thanks to Wendy Mill, Fiona Savage, Mike Bell, Jacqui Mitchell, Andy Lippok, Chris Alder and Gordon Cassells for all their work and for speaking on the night.

The event was free to attend and the venue (Summer Hall) was chosen accordingly. That worked out well on the whole, although there were some drawbacks, principally around the acoustics for the discussion groups in the second half. Another time, we might position the groups in a different way to avoid these difficulties.

We sought feedback from the attendees and have a number of points to think about. In general terms, the feedback varied from unconvinced through to “fabulous”, mostly in the favourable to very favourable category.

One specific theme is refining the message of the Unreasonable Learners so that it engages widely, is positively expressed, and retains sufficient coherence to make a difference. With the diversity of subjects and viewpoints in play, this represents something of a challenge.

Another theme that has been emerging for some time and which was reinforced by the Open Space event is how we most effectively share the learning already at our disposal within the network. Gathering the expertise and achieving the personal growth necessary to effect systemic and sustainable change is a key area.

This will be discussed further at our meeting on the 18th April.

Running the event on a free-to-attend basis was in line with the ULN’s philosophy of achieving as much as possible without outlays. Whether this is the right policy is regularly discussed. So far, the case for establishing a funded organisation with administrative resource has not been made. The time may come though when that is an essential step. Meantime, we proceed with an approach of sharing the tasks as widely as possible. Remaining an entirely voluntary organisation has implications for consistency and our ability to meet third party expectations. Views on this point would be welcome.

Our speakers at the Open Space event deserve our thanks. If you attended the event, thank you for coming along and contributing to a considerable success.

Please feel free to comment with impressions of the event, ideas for further events, and suggestions or comments in general on the points mentioned above.