Engage with one another, develop knowledge and skills, share expertise, and contribute to our community.

CBODN Mentoring Program - Open Space Technology Experience

  • 24 May 2011
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201, Founders Hall


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CBODN Mentoring Program

Kickoff Event:
Open Space Technology (OST) Experience

May 24th, 2011 | 7:00-9:00 PM
George Mason University,
3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201, Founders Hall
(see directions by metro below)

How can CBODN create not just a mentoring program, but a community of practice that supports each other both personally and professionally?

If you are interested in helping CBODN answer this question and make an impact in our community, then join us for our 3-part series on mentoring where we hope to enable members to further understand the roles of both mentors and mentees as well as allow them to define, understand, and take on either role. 


Open Space Technology Experience

OST is a simple, powerful way to catalyze effective working conversations. The experience begins with an invitation for participants to come together and connect with others who are eager to learn about, plan for, and take action around a particular theme.


The invitation highlights the openness, passion and responsible self-organization that are the core tenants of OST. Within the invitation, there is a question that is posed which does not seek to “solve problems” but rather to co-create some dimension of an organization, community or world that we want to be a part of. The invitation asks people to come together in a positive, appreciative way. The question, or theme, posed in the invitation also includes a brief explanation about its importance/connection to the organization and to others that are interested. Our question will be based around the idea of using those interested in mentoring to come together as a community to help one another.

The invitation will extend to all those who have expressed interest in mentoring. *Michael Herman characterizes it as “people who have a passion for the issue and signals to them that the best outcomes are theirs to create.”  The invitation will suggest that the meeting is intended to go beyond making recommendations and is for real responsibility, learning, and action on the issue at hand.

OST Event

The OST event is staged with a large group of chairs in a circle and opens with the sound of chimes. The facilitator introduces her/himself, welcomes everyone to the meeting and adds brief wording about why everyone has been gathered. It is then explained that the empty wall behind them is the agenda and that within the hour it will be filled with discussion topics related to the theme and makes it clear that all the breakout topics will be proposed by the group of people now sitting in the circle. We will follow a similar set up.

Four Basic Principles and One Law

When the event begins, the facilitator explains the four principles of OST:
1. Whoever comes are the right people.
2. Whenever it starts is the right time.
3. Whatever happens is all that could happen.
4. When it’s over, it is over. 

After that, the Law of Personal Mobility or Law of Two Feet is explained: it says that you, and only you, know where you can learn and contribute the most to the work that must take place today. If at any time you are not learning or contributing, you have the right and responsibility to find another breakout session, take a walk, or make a phone call. This rule makes everyone fully responsible for the quality of their own work and work experience.

Creating the Agenda

The facilitator invites anyone who is ready to come to the center of the circle, take a marker and sheet of paper and write down their burning question, issue or idea related to creating a mentoring program. A number of people then create their own. After writing it, they read their issue out loudundefined“My name is _____ and my issue/question is _____.” They then tape their issue to the wall and assign it a place and time.

The whole group is invited to the wall and signs up for the sessions/issues they want to attend and the first session begins without any announcement or instructions. The large group becomes many smaller circles broken out either within the room or other spaces each working on an issue related to the theme of mentoring. Every session has been proposed by someone who really cares about that item and has taken responsibility that it gets addressed. As the first sessions finish, the second begin, if the work isn’t finished, the sessions continue. The convener is responsible for recording the main points/conclusions reached during the session.

Groups may create handwritten proceedings to be typed up after the event and the typed information can be dumped into an electronic format where future meetings can be announced and progress reports added.

After the discussion ends, everyone in the room forms a circle and attests to the fact that together they have identified, explored and addressed the important issues. Each group will have gathered new ideas and the facilitators will explain how they will be distributed. We will also empower them to continue to work on the issue, and seed cycles of invitation that will continue to pull people into places where they can maximize their own learning and contribution. We will also document the new ideas from the day, pick out any strategic themes, priorities and/or action steps and use that information to help “seed” the World Café.

Questions to Consider for the Invitation

  • How can CBODN create not just a mentoring program, but community of practice that supports each other both personally and professionally?
  • What are the critical components to a mentoring program and how can CBODN facilitate the creation of a mentoring community?
  • What is mentorship and how can you contribute to creating a CBODN mentorship program?

This series is co-sponsored by the George Mason University’s Organization Development and Knowledge Management Graduate Program.

Directions by Metro

(3301/3401 Fairfax Dr., Arlington) by Metro
Take the Orange Line to the Virginia Square/GMU station.  Take the escalator to the street level, and turn to face Fairfax Drive.  Across the street and to the right, you will see the FDIC building.  The Arlington Campus is next door.

Who We Are

Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network (CBODN) - is the premier DC Metro area network and community of practice of Organization Development (OD) practitioners. Founded in Chesapeake Bay, MD, our name still pays homage to our founders, and we are grateful for their brilliant minds and vital contributions to the field of OD.

Connect with CBODN

  • 1325 G Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005
  • (202) 630-6663
  • admin@cbodn.org


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