Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Notes from Open Space Session on November 18

In the afternoon of our meeting on November 18 we convened small group discussions using Open Space Technology. Sarah Griffiths facilitated this and typed up the notes from the sessions. We've attached them here. The overarching question for the group was: How can we use, and further, strengths-based approaches in our work?

5 Small groups formed to discuss the following topics:
Strengths-based Professional Development,
Using Strengths-based approaches in the Jewish Community,
Staying Connected,
Involve Community Members and Stakeholders more, and
Effecting Change when Low Morale is an Issue.

Strengths-based Professional Development
Host: Allison Titcomb

Discussion Highlights:
• Definitions—cultural, theory/use, target.
• Ask the people—using strengths-based questions.
• Flexibility—web, in-person, learning circles, short-term, long-term.
• Follow through—opportunities, building trust, application, reflection.
• Ask—what do you want from these relationships?
Powerful Quotes:
• “On the hunt for new questions.”

Using Strengths-based approaches in the Jewish Community
Host: Bonnie Wright

Discussion Highlights:
• Are there sensitivities special to this “culture”? Yes, but not prohibitive. Appreciative Inquiry might be the best approach.
• Conversations need to lead to action.
• Build off the strengths in the community (and outside models).
Powerful Quotes:
• “Know and respect the audience.”
• “Not everything will work.”
• Have courage.

Staying Connected
Host: Jon Ford

Discussion Highlights:
• Early wins—personal contact is so generative.
• Substance and value of communications wanted.
• Key authors/leaders/resources/tools.
• Everyone’s contributing; more than one voice/leader.
• Communication—easy, clear and active. Start by asking—what do you want from this?
• Share learnings after the meeting.
Powerful Quotes:
• “Something powerful about an invitation>’
• “Collaboration.”
• “Step into the center and radiate out.”
• “Being part of the vision.”

Involve Community Members and Stakeholders More

Host: Wendy Wolfersteig
Scribe: Barbara Garvey, Barbara Schoeneweis

Discussion Highlights:
• Reframing/refocusing on what we are doing well. What are good outcomes?
• Why do people get involved? What matters to them? How can your initiative/program help them think/benefit them?
• Delineate groups/partners who are possible stakeholders. Look at how best to reach each group—Internet, Open Space, Coalition, etc.
Powerful Quotes:
• “We only do what we care about.”
• “Our challenge is to restore our quality f life and personal well-being.”

Effecting Change when Low Morale is an Issue
Host: Elizabeth Eells

Discussion Highlights:
• Working with Native communities.
• Segued into organizations—burnout, low-morale.
• People need a voice, want to be heard, need to understand boundaries.
• Focus on what is working.
• Leadership style and perspective are important.
• Give a voice—ask their opinion, for suggestions.
• Explain why—be open to suggestions for change.
• Get all levels of the organization/community involved.
• Be respectful.
Powerful Quotes:
• It is easier to ask for forgiveness . . .”

No comments: