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Doc Searls asked some open ended questions on the radical middle in this post back in December. So I emailed Doc and suggested he contact Johnnie Moore to learn more about holding the circle and open space. I never heard back from Doc and forgot all about it until seeing this photo within the flickr Mashcamp photos. Great to see open space making its way into Silicon Valley I thought to myself. Following Doc and Ryan King’s recent back and forth on Bar Camp v Mashup Camp Dave Winer wrote this post on what is an unconference. As someone who attended his last conference in 2000 and has declined offers to speak on panels since then all of the above registered.

While Daves post moves the conversation along within the tech community I’d like to add my two cents from outside the tech community. You see I am not a coder but a user so when I meet with organisations who are considering a portal 2.0 I recommend Marc Canter, an enterprise wiki I recommend Ross Mayfield, a weblog I recommend Matt Mullenweg, an unconference I recommend an open space practitioner such as Chris Corrigan. I’ve never met any of the above in person but I have had the pleasure of reading each of their weblogs for a number of years. There is no need for a ritual introduction, handover, middle person or strategic alliance. Both parties decide among themselves whether they chose to work together or not.

Open space as a concept predates all of us. It has been around since the beginning of humankind. Its basic ideas were passed on from the plains of Africa to the Wisdom of the East to the Native American Tradition. Open space has been how we have evolved as a species. We are privileged to be living at a such a unique moment in time where we have the opportunity to reconnect 6.5bn people. Technology is enabling this connectivity on a scale previously unimaginable to harness our collective intelligence. However Silicon Valleys greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Its insularity and independence has fostered a culture where all answers are sought from within the tech community. Lets see if its thought leaders are capable of being both independent and interdependent. All of us want to build a better world – lets build it together.


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