Re: Intro -- John P. Wilson LO116
Wed, 15 Feb 1995 09:26:50 CST


Let me introduce myself to you. John P. Wilson, Professor - Adult
Education at Iowa State University, in Ames, IA. Like you, I'm new to
this list, and a neofite (sp?) in learning organizations. I have read
some of Senge's 5th discipline and am intriqued. I am more interested in
your ideas about open space. One of my students left off a study just
yesterday for me to read titled An ethnographic study of an opoen space
technology meeting: self-organization at work. I'm anxious to read it,
and any other material I can find. Open space seems like such a
refreshing alternative to the overly structured ways we trained experts
seem to endear for getting things done, like increasing participation on
the part of learners, designing learning programs for learners, even
designing structures, management practices and philosophies for
organizations. I think open space offers a great opportunity for renewal
and progress.

> Dear learners
> Being new to the list I have been asked to introduce myself - I am not
> very familiar with the concept learning organisations (I hear about it
> everywhere) but coincidently today I bought the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
> (looks incredible) and tonight I came across the subscibe info for this
> mailing-list!
> I am a self-employed OD practitioner (ie. I find it difficult to define
> what I actually do), living in Cape Town, South Africa, specialising in
> the design, facilitation and organisation of participative processes and
> events, particularly those which are catalysts for organisational
> transformation. My experience has been in high school teaching and then
> working, since 1985, in a variety of roles (more recently in staff
> development and OD) within the Adult Education Non-Governmental
> Organisation sector in South Africa, linked to the anti-Apartheid
> struggle.
> I have a particular interest in the design of processes that do not
> require expert facilitators (like Open Space Technology) and to this end I
> have recently been engaging with the concept of "dialogue" and a pathology
> of organisational events, through a very rough paper I have just completed
> entitled: "Exploring the elements and essences of participative processes
> in organisations - opening personal and collective spaces and the mystery
> of facilitation." If anyone is interested I will gladly send a copy and
> hope that I receive some good feedback. (I will be away for 2 weeks - but
> will respond promptly on return)
> I am presently involved in designing and organising a 3-day "Summer
> School" for 80 teacher-leaders from 12 schools in the Southern Cape as a
> transformational leadership experience and in an attempt to synergise them
> all into a learning network for staff and organisational development - the
> schools range from black rural township (90 to 130 children in each class)
> to coloured (40 in a class) to white afrikaans (30 in a class). We are
> using the concept "Whole School Development" which is partly based on
> Systems Theory (Thinking?) as the framework for development. We are also
> hoping to develop a model process for developing learning networks (is
> Ivan Illich still alive?) and for bringing together schools that used to
> be in different, racial Education Departments - ie trying to build a
> single Department from below to complement the efforts from above. I
> would dearly appreciate advice or accounts of similar experiences.
> I am looking forward to deep dialogue...warm regards
> Doug Reeler
> Doug Reeler -

John P Wilson