During the OSA Workshop held June 09-10 (2016) in Leuven, Belgium, a participant named Jef Cumps began using the term “invitation based change.” He used it several times (I think) before I actually began noticing. At one point, I noticed this and I asked him to stop, and repeat what he just said.
“Invitation based change,” he replied.
This is a remarkable turn of a phrase. It describes everything OSA is doing, and also is a great description of Open Space Technology (OST) itself.
And so: it is now the term we use to describe exactly what we are doing with Open Space and OpenSpace Agility.
Invitation based change is bigger than OpenSpace Agility, bigger than even Open Space Technology. It’s a mindset, the mindset, a useful philosophy of change, and the idea that guides almost any authentic and lasting change in almost any organization.
Because truth be told, self-management is what actually scales, not your A-B-C prescription or “shiny-infographic framework.”
The difficult truth is that engagement is essential to self-management, and that genuine invitation (aka “opt in participation”) is the primary way to get it. The idea is to frame everything as an experiment to be inspected. When leaders frame new ideas as experiments, to be inspected, something odd happens. Something rather nice.
We, the affected, suspend our disbelief, and actually try it. We engage. We the affected “act as if” it could work, and actually give it a try. Those who might resist suddenly become willing to “pretend” and “suspend disbelief” that the change might actually be interesting to investigate as an idea. An idea that is to be inspected after a period of direct experience. In other words, we approach change in an agile way. Via “committed experimentation.”
Invitation based change converts resistance to support. And more than occasionally. It converts strong (aka “passionate”) resistance from a “bug” to a “feature.” It creates a “double positive.”
Invitation based change is the future of work.
Are you skeptical? Good…
…let’s just give it a little time. Do a few experiments.
And inspect them.
And go from there.
Special thanks for Jef Cumps, who coined this phrase “Invitation Based Change,” or what we are now calling “IBC” for short.
You are invited to investigate.
OpenSpace Agility (link)
The OpenSpace Agility group on Facebook (link)
Vast majority of employees not engaged- Gallup poll (link)