THE CONFERENCE PROCESS
While the process design work will be finalized much closer to the conference, we know now that it will involve primarily a process known as Open Space, which is self-organized by all of us participants on site, in real time, with no pre-established workshops or keynotes (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-Openspace.html). We have chosen to use Open Space as our overall process because it encourages the emergence of unexpected breakthroughs.
Given the creative mix of people present, we know that story telling (of course!), music, movement, video, poetry, and art will be present. The conference opening will involve some mix of setting a shared context, storytelling, and connecting us all more deeply with ourselves, each other, and the whole that we form. In this work we will likely use World Café — which involves small cafe-like conversations, with occasional mixing of participants (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-worldcafe.html). There will naturally be lots of talking circles within and around both the Open Space and the World Cafe. During the evenings we expect many of us participants will socialize and share videos, performances, and stories that take us deeper, open our hearts to joy and sorrow, and inspire much co-creative juicy-ness.
We have a result in mind: We want this event to further the story field’s shift and, more importantly, to trigger a cascade of similar events and activities that involve more and more people — ultimately evolving into a whole-system CAPACITY that society as a whole uses to change its story field consciously, whenever it needs to. The path we take to achieve this shared goal will emerge from our work together.
CREATING A GENERATIVE SPACE
What will that work be like? Given the profound complexity of our society and of our current evolutionary situation, the story-shift we want cannot be approached as a linear task for which we can lay out an established plan or agenda. Nor do we want our conference to provide simply a sharing and learning space for all the people who are involved with aspects of this story-work. The hour is late, the evolutionary field is super-saturated, and we need breakthroughs — radical, unforeseen, powerful new channels for the special passion and competence of all of us participants and others like us out in the world.
So we seek to create a hospitable gathering space in which there is enough time and freedom for all our gifts and passions (a) to become visible to each other and the whole and (b) to creatively INTERACT in ways that allow for the inspirations, possibilities, and disturbances of one day to simmer and compost overnight and then emerge to evolve further the next day — day after day — for five full days and nights. In other words, we need an iterative feedback kind of process — unpredictable, emergent, intense — which is open to both frustration and magic, because frustration is so often a sign that something truly new and magical is trying to emerge. In short, we want a space where anything that needs to be born can be born among us rather than being squeezed out by a crowded agenda.
There is a risk, when we let go and open up like this, that things will not unfold with the power that we seek. But true transformation — moving into the unknown, open to what wants to emerge — seldom happens without risk and letting go. Our job as conveners and hosts — a job shared by all participants — is to invoke the personal passion, courage, and shared intention of those who come, as these factors are the primary organizing energies of Open Space. When they are alive in a group, they are profoundly generative.
So expect to be called into what YOU most care about. And expect surprises.