Convenor: Dr. Christa Gescher
Participants: Jessy Hsieh, Gabriella Ender, Gabriele Burkhardt
Summary of the meeting: It seems that it does not matter if you use High Tech for an Open Space Conference or not, but it is nice to have it there. If the participants come from industries where High Tech is commonly used they might feel more familiar with the environment of the Open Space conference.
Being myself an IT veteran (since 1969, when some who are now commonly called veterans were little kids or were not even born) I have to say that I can hardly find any paragraph of this report that I agree with. Particularly, I strongly disagree with the ideia of using disks as talking sticks, black and white buterfflies, or computer written material as if the IT folks were unable to read handwritten messages (or for that metter books) or to appreciate something "in colours".
I think that what is "nice to have" in an OST meeting is the "adequate IT" - not less, and not more. The ideia of having mobile phones in the room is horrible for me. In what concerns having PDA's it depends on the objective - to have them for the sake of having them seems useless, if not a diversion.
The ideia that "The more the participants feel familiar with the environment the more they will open up" is not necessarily true. In some cases it is the fact that the procedures are strange that allows for people to "open up". That is the reason why OST works better than many "more familiar" meeting methods.
I also don't think that "OSonline bridges the gat bettwen online and onsite participants"; as it has been explained by Gabriela some time ago that is not even the purpose, but the one of connecting online participants only.
Finally, I do agree that:
(a) "It is good to be careful on one's own assumptions and about what other people might like or like not"
(b) "As a facilitator it is important to be able to speak the language of the participants, to adapt to them" - and I think that OST participants, like the ones that meet in OSonOs?, don't normally use the "language" of calling themselves or the others with titles.
Facinating conversation. I am also in the IT business and have worked on ways to appropriately use technology with OST. My general sense is that the technology should always support the process, not become a focus that detracts from why people show up. Given that as a principle, I think technology can greatly enhance the OST experience in many ways. Proceedings that are immediately available online, as they are here, allow me to chime in from my home many thousands of miles away from where you sit in circle. Digital photos projected on the wall at the end of each day can be a powerful yet subtle method of reinforcing meaningful experience. I once attended a butterfly session where those present were remembering an old friend who seemed to be "missing" from that gathering. With the help of a cell phone with built-in speakerphone, we were able to sit around a fire and bring our friend into the experience with us in a way that went beyond what we could do without the technology.
So I say use it and use it well. Make sure it has a purpose. And let's do our best to make technology a support and not a hinderance to the opening of space.
I much prefer to keep the tech to a minimum during the meeting, unless it's a group that's already wired. I prefer gallery posters to typed proceedings. The big benefit of the tech for me is to keep the conversatoins going afterward. In practice workshops and other events, we've had participants make posters and then type their notes later and email them to a listserve or post them to a wiki. Then followup meetings and notes can be posted to the list and/or wiki as ongoing support for the work at hand. --MichaelHerman
p.s. hello to Gabriela and Gabriele!!!