The Art of Hosting

From the email list February 2013...


Please consider this just an invitation to jump into the sandbox with me. :)
At my church we've hosted a couple of events at which people have been invited to participate in Circle and World Cafe, and there's a lot of wonderful energy now at the church around these methodologies already.  I'm getting folks coming to me with ideas for what "our next World Cafe" might surround--so it's clear to me that it's time for an Open Space so folks can share their ideas with their fellow travelers.  
We've also had a fair amount of feedback (both appreciative and constructive) around what we're doing as a whole.  It has come under the umbrella of Leadership Development in the church, but we've been inspired by the Board of Trustees and their focus in the church, and other groups are also thinking it might be useful for them--so it seems time for Hosting at the church to branch out from just Leadership Development.
The specific wording of the Open Space's umbrella question hasn't been finalized, but it'll have something to do with "What's next?"
Our next event, the Open Space, is coming up soon.  I wondered if you fine folks have suggestions based on your own experience or creativity for how to design the harvest for these conversations. I can envision one (somewhat formal) harvest:
Tell us
  • who convened the conversation
  • who attended
  • what you discussed
  • what you decided
  • what's the next step?
But I don't want to be locked into only my own thinking.  [NB: I do have a "host team," but out of the three of us, I'm the only one who's been trained/apprenticed as a host, and the others are learning from me.]
Come and play if you feel so inclined!  *hands you a pail and shovel*


Hi Amy, 

Sounds like good work. Check out this harvest template that a mate of mine, Marguerite Drescher ( made. We used it in Nova Scotia for large gatherings around food security and I have been playing with it in lots of places since then as a harvest tool for OST and all kinds of breakout groups. People fill them out during their session. These templates seem to support the quality of conversation in breakout groups ... they give not only space to harvest but questions to travel through - a simple check in to hear people's perspective, explore the issue, get clear next steps .... A tweet at the end, max 140 character to summarise the spirit and content of the work acts as headline for people to peruse the flip charts in a gallery over lunch. Who knows, all the tweets may make a lovely poem. :-).Ole Quist Sorenson has always inspired me with his concept of graphic template as host .... 

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