First and foremost, remember to go very carefully through all of the required materials before starting this assignment. There are two short articles, plus two in-depth book chapters to go through. There are also some optional readings in the background materials that you can use for your paper. It is important to make sure you understand the ins and outs of Open Space Technology and Future Search before starting on this assignment, so make sure to go through the readings carefully before you start on this paper .
For this assignment, you will be going through four scenarios. For each scenario, cite at least two of the readings from the background readings to support your answer. You need to cite at least four of the readings total for your paper—these can include both required and optional readings listed in the background materials. Your paper should be 4–5 pages in length:
- Suppose you win the lottery. Not sure what to do with all of your money, on an impulse you decide to buy a local college as you want to make a positive impact in your community. However, you soon find yourself a bit over your head as all day you have employees or students coming to your office with all kinds of advice, suggestions for changes that should be made, complaints, etc. Never having run a college before, you are a bit confused about how to deal with all of this input and you don’t really have a good idea about what to focus on. The college has about 300 employees and 800 students and want to find a way to get some more organized input and creative ideas for improving the college. Should you use Open Space Technology, Future Search, or neither? Explain your reasoning and justify your answer using at least two of the readings from the background materials.
- A video game company starts out with five undergraduate students living in a dorm, but rapidly grows within three years to around 50 employees and $10 million a year in annual revenues. While the company is still expected rapid growth, there is still sharp tension between the very young video game designers and the older and more experienced executives who run the finance and marketing departments. In particular, the younger employees strive to develop new video games that are unique and much different than any other games available. However, the more experienced executives wish to take a more conservative route and come out with games that are similar to popular games produced by their competitors. The five founding partners are not sure which of these two directions to take and wish to receive input from all of their employees through some type of formal process. Should the CEO use Open Space Technology, Future Search, or neither? Explain your reasoning and justify your answer using at least two of the readings from the background materials.
- An insurance company has most of its employees in three different departments – sales, accounting, and information technology. The CEO is always receiving input from the sales department, as most of the salesforce is very outgoing and they don’t hesitate to give their opinions or make requests. On the other hand, employees in accounting and information technology tend to be quiet and shy and rarely speak up. The CEO notices that there is considerably higher turnover in the accounting and information technology departments, and thus becomes concerned that perhaps employees in these departments are leaving because they are dissatisfied with decisions the CEO has made or because they feel the salesforce is overly favored. There are about 50 employees in each department. The CEO wishes to find a process by which a wider range of employee input can be obtained. Should the CEO use Open Space Technology, Future Search, or neither? Explain your reasoning and justify your answer using at least two of the readings from the background materials.
- A CEO initiates an Open Space Technology conference. At the start of the conference, the CEO provides a list of topics he wants covered and also gives his opinion on what kind of outcomes he wants from the conference. He also makes attendance at the conference mandatory. When the conference starts, participants all volunteer to give sessions on the topics proposed by the CEO. A few participants propose to give sessions on other topics not mentioned by the CEO, but very few employees come to these sessions and instead go to the sessions covering topics suggested by the CEO. At the end of the conference, the CEO is presented with a carefully worded summary of the conference and given conclusions that the CEO wanted to hear. However, after the conference ends and employees go back to work they are very slow at implementing the recommendations from the conference. What do you think went wrong? Which major principles or concepts of Open Space Technology do you think the CEO violated? Explain your reasoning, and cite Leith (1996) and at least one other source on Open Space Technology to support your answer.
- Answer the assignment questions directly.
- Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
- Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you use articles from the Internet, make sure they are from credible sources.
- Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide,” which is found under My Resources in the TLC portal.
To begin, read these two articles for a basic overview of large group interventions such as Future Search and Open Space Technology:
Nixon, B. (1998). Creating the futures we desire – getting the whole system into the room: Part I. Industrial and Commercial Training, 30(1), 4-11. [ProQuest]
Leith, M. (1996). Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International, 1(4), 19-23. [ProQuest]
Finally, take a closer and more detailed look at Future Search and Open Space Technology with these final two readings that are highly important for your assignments. You will be required to cite these readings in your papers:
Norum, K. E. (2005). Chapter 15: Future Search conversation. In Dialogue as a Means of Collective Communication (pp. 323-333). Springer Science & Business Media B.V. / Books. [Business Source Complete]
Rogers, J. (2010). Large group interventions. Facilitating Groups. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Pp. 98-104 [EBSCO eBook Collection. Note: this is a section at the end of Chapter 3 of this book]
For some comprehensive guides to Future Search and Open Space Technology written by the original creators of these methods see the following books:
Weisbord, M. R., & Janoff, S. (2010). Future Search: Getting the Whole System in the Room for Vision, Commitment, and Action. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers [EBSCO eBook Collection]
Owen, H. (2008). Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide (3rd Edition). Williston, VT, USA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]