Opening Space, What's your Score?

Would there be a need to bring Agile to a perfect world? What if the world is perfectly imperfect, and what would that mean for how we bring Agile to teams and organizations? Since this is a Games conference, what does Game Theory say? James P. Carse posits in the book Finite and Infinite Games "There is only one infinite game." Perhaps any game you can finish isn't the game with your most important score.

What game are you playing when you do "the Agile"? What is your role and the role of those you serve? Oppressor, Victim, Rescuer, Challenger, Coach, or Author? And what do you think Authority and Responsibility have to do with it? And what of values, or God forbid, dare we ask about Love?

We will be using Open Space Technology (OST) the last day of the conference. OST seems impossibly simple, yet has frequently demonstrated astoundingly powerful effects. Many have said it's a perfect match for Agile because both OST and Agile revolve around self-organization. OST is also the core component of the Agile Alliance's growing AgileOpen program. What is the power of OST? And what is "Open Space" anyway? In this keynote you'll get to experience and play with these and other provocative and perhaps controversial questions and themes in a micro OST 'game' that you might consider bringing back to your own teams.


Outline/Structure of the Keynote

The beginning of the keynote will be a short talk about 15-25 minutes. The talk will challenge the listeners both with some very open ended questions, as well as some philosophy, psychology research, and practical experience around the value and use of Open Space in the context of bringing Agility to teams, organizations, and even communities.

The rest of the keynote will be an experience of Open Space in a short format. It will have all the features of a good Open Space Technology conference (albeit in a micro format), with a scoring process to provoke learning in as many corners of the Open Space Technology process as possible.

We'll also briefly debrief the experience as a conclusion.

Learning Outcome

  • A fast way to play with Open Space Technology as a micro meeting format.
  • Why Open Space Technology is already a great 'game' and how to think about a 'score'.
  • The difference between finite and infinite games, and how that helps refine our thinking about value.
  • How listening and questions help us spread our ideas.
  • Why authority is all about creating, and how to take responsibility for exiting from the drama triangle of victim, perpetrator, and rescuer.


Target Audience


schedule Submitted 3 years ago

Public Feedback

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  • David Koontz
    By David Koontz  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    not as interesting as I first thought...  this proposal could use a bit of fluffing up - but the title... AWESOME!

    • Harold Shinsato
      By Harold Shinsato  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks for your affirmation on the title. I'm still brewing the format in my head before I commit something to the description. I'm thinking of a 25-35 minute talk followed by a micro-open space so folks can process and dialog about what I hope will be provocative thought bombs. The blurb below really is only some raw inspiration and may be quite distant from the final product, but to give you a bit more of a sense where I'm coming from, this is what I pitched the conference team:

      I'm leaning towards a theme related to the book Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse. Which might be expressed as a question about what is the bigger game we're playing? I'd probably offer the keynote more as a provocative question than a singular post-Agile process. Maybe something like, Opening Space, What's your Score? The talk would be a challenge to play the Infinite Game. James P. Carse said in the last sentence of his book, "There is only one Infinite Game." And to think about the score. For me, the challenge from Harrison Owen to open space whenever, wherever, and with whoever, is about removing unhelpful boundaries. Undoing the constraints that our lack of authorship in our own destiny to being a hero in the bigger story. Maybe there are some hints in Theory U. Maybe in the theories and practices of the Tavistock Institute of Group Relations and their Group Relations conferences. Open Space, Modern Agile, Mob Programming, Core Protocols for sure, at least I think so. Maybe Sociocracy, Peacemaking Circles, Fierce Conversations, SemcoStyle. Maybe a new framework would help. Or a new game. But does the game advance your score? How would you know?

      Will you tell me both how this resonates and how it might not?