Ep. 013: Harrison Owen: Opening Space for Peace and High Performance
In this episode, Susan interviews Harrison Owen the celebrated creator of Open Space Technology which was “channeled” through him, he claims, because of the presence of good gin as well as past inspirations from a village where he lived in West Africa that handled differences by sitting in a simple circle. Open Space has been used in more than half of the countries on earth in what has been a 30+ year experiment in what Harrison observes as the “natural occurrence of peace and high performance.” In this episode, Harrison talks about how Open space evolved and why he thinks it works in high conflict situations. He describes some specific applications – the first, to a conflict between government agencies and Native Americans about where to build a highway on tribal lands and, the second, a meeting of 50 Israelis and Palestinians in Rome who were at polarized odds. “One of the interesting things that struck me early on (about Open Space) is how hugely conflicting people who had spent a considerable amount of time trying to deal with a particular issue would, for whatever reason, find themselves in an Open Space and, more often than not, come out hugging and kissing – problem solved.” In his typical fashion, Harrison provides insight in just about every sentence he utters including reflections on why Open Space isn’t used even more widely than it is given its consistent effectiveness.