Fewer speeches, more exchanges — and creative breakouts.

We’ll be using elements of something called “Open Space” when we gather on Thursday at the Greylock Mill. (PLEASE READ ABOUT ‘OPEN SPACE.’) Open space puts the responsible on each of us to bring and contribute some important, fresh ideas. This often results in leaving with (1) unexpected new contacts and perspective  (2) A basis for ongoing collaboration and engagement  (3) A sense that “making a difference” is possible where leadership is shared, not assumed.

in keeping with “open space” — the “schedule” below is tentative.


In the weaving shed of the Greylock Mill will be five key elements on Thursday:

  1. WELCOME TABLE / LITERATURE — When you enter up the ramp fromwhoever-comes the south entrance, stop in at the welcome table to pick up your name badge. If you haven’t printed a list of participants from HERE, there will be copies. Find people you don’t know and should! If you have a special project or point of view, bring literature to drop off at this table on arrival.

    Please don’t plan to pontificate at length during the circle gathering! We don’t have time; you have names and email address for followup contact.


  2. THE COMMON CIRCLE — Eighty or more chairs arranged in a circle.  While there will be some discussion from the circle’s center, the shape emphasizes that we are all equally responsible for making ideas happen. Most of our time will be spent listening to comments from the circumference of the circle, not inside it.
  3. THE DISCUSSION NOOKS — There will be at least five discussion nooks around the room — separated enough so that at two points during the evenning, five discussions can occur concurrently on topics we collectively determine.
  4. THE POSTING WALL — At the north end of the weaving shed is the place where we will will be (a) Posting ideas for nook discussions and (b) Post-It(tm) and easel pad notes about the ideas and outcomes for nook discussions.
  5. THE REFRESHMENT / DONATION STAND — We’ll have some water, simple beverages (including coffee) and simple snacks. Here you may also leave a voluntary donation to Citizen Media Inc. (The Greylock Independent) to help offset costs for food, name tags and supplies for the evening.  If you leave a check, you will receive a mailed acknowledgement of your tax-deductible contribution.


(Times are approximate. All discussions “in the circle” will be videotaped (and are “on the record“) by Northern Berkshire Community Television for cablecasting next week in Adams, North Adams and Williamstown.)

  • 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Earlier arrival encouraged — Start informal networking and check out this awesome space!
  • 6:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. — Introduction / process explanation — Tela Zasloff, Sarah Gardner, Bill Densmore
  • 6:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. — Round the circle — What you bring to our discussion (reference your literature); what you hope to get out of it — time limit — 30 seconds!  (Seriously).calling-breakouts
  • 7:15 p.m.-7:30 p.m. — Defining breakouts — Come to the center of the circle, take a sheet of paper and write your breakout idea; post on the IDEA WALL.  The goal is to conflate ideas into five or six breakouts.
  • 7:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. — First breakouts convene in nooks. TAKE YOUR CHAIR WITH YOU. Each breakout should designate a law-of-two-feetfacilitator and a raconteur (note taker). Use large sheets and markers provider; bring your notes back to the circle for summarizing and the post them on the IDEA WALL. The “Law of Two Feet” — if a breakout isn’t meeting your needs, its OK to move on to a different one. Don’t feel trapped.
  • 8:15 p.m.-8:45 p.m. — Back to circle to share and report learning from nook breakouts (videotaped for public access)
  • 8:45 p.m.-9:00 p.m. — Wrapup / Next Steps — Raconteurs in the center summarize learning. We decide next steps.  Anyone can call an informal closing circle in Nooks 1-6 for next-step networking.
  • 9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. — Next-step networking and hor d’oeuvres. RETURN CHAIRS TO TRUCK BEFORE DEPARTING.