Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Housing Security


1. Name of Interviewer/Facilitator: Larry Peterson

2. Date of Interview: April 19, 2005

3. Role of Person Interviewed: Sponsor, Director

4. Country Where Event Held: Canada

5. Sector/Business: Non-Profit; Housing

6. How Many OST Events Has the Interviewee's Organization/Unit had? Organization-7, Unit 2

7. Theme of This OST Event:
Tighter Cohesive Work Unit that Creates Customer Satisfaction

8. Key organisational challenges, issues, drivers for this Event?
-Larger organization has changed the direction and structure of the unit after a merger
-Two previous organizations had different approaches
-New roles given to some staff
-Unit documented racism in some practices that require change
-Relationships with Police vary within the unit.
-Teamwork needs improvement

9. Date of Event:
March 23 & March 31, 2004

10. Number of participants: 159

11. How long was the event? 2 - 1 day events

12. Planning Process with the Client
a. Number of Planning Meetings?

b. Length of Planning Process (weeks or months)? 1.5 Months

c. Number of people involved in the planning of the event? 9

13. Follow-up with regard to this event
a. Was the follow-up planned before the event took place?

b. Number of Follow-up Meetings 2

Interview responses

1. How would you describe your experience of Open Space Technology?
-It was not foreign to me to bring people together and brainstorm ideas
-It was a larger setting for this kind of approach, however
-Open and inclusive
-Not a lecture, not “you shall”
-Comfortable environment
-People enjoyed it, they wanted to be there
-As a manager I was more comfortable: there were no hecklers at the back, no strong union positioning in the room

2. Describe the impact of OST on:
a.The people who attended

-People enjoyed themselves, which is really important when they have tough work
-Majority saw it as a different way to have a meeting
-“My opinions are important”
-Some managers and Supervisors were not as comfortable initially with this approach; they were used to the traditional format, although those still with the organization (several have since left the organization) have adapted very well to it.
-Most felt a sense of relief that things would be different and that they would have a say

b.On organizational results

-We have not moved from this style of meeting. It is now the standard way we have business meetings.
-We sit in a circle, People who come into the room automatically set up the chairs that way
-People bring topics forward, not just managers
-Feedback from committees in same format
-We capture the thoughts
-We now have a monthly newsletter with updates
-Our meetings are less confrontational, there is a different fell
-Human Rights/Equity study presented in a circle
-3 of the 4 top priority topics went forward. “Morale” topic did not get volunteers.

3. How was it different from your experience of other approaches?

-I already value and have experience with meetings where people engage with people and where decisions are informed by the collective.
-This worked with a larger group
-It moved from plenary to small groups well
-Bumblebees and Butterflies were a major difference: able to move between groups and experience all the pieces
-People have fun

4. Given your experience, in what circumstances would you recommend the use of OS to others?
-At the outset of a new group, a new operational unit
-Use as a check point when you have been in business for a couple of years
-As an evaluation of how things are going. It is a good vehicle for quickly identifying things.