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I will begin this story in 1996, some two or three years before I heard about Open Space Technology or about a guy called Harrison Owen. In 1996, I joined the University of Coimbra as an Invited Professor. Among my responsibilities I was to completely reorganize and run a two-semester course on "Management" for Information Systems Engineering Students, that until then consisted mainly of theoretical classes on general and financial management and "practical" classes on pencil and paper (or computer) financial assignments.
With support from the Dean, I changed almost everything and defined that my responsibility should be to create a context where students could learn to do organizational work and to manage, through their own organization of one large event (the full 40-something students of the class acting as the organizing committee), a lot of other smaller events organized in small groups - and some theoretical classes and assignments, of course. And everything only with as little rules and guidance as I could. Students loved the course, had a lot of fun and learned a lot, both individually and as a group. And the story was repeatable, and has been repeated several years. I will not describe the full story here (that is described elsewhere), but any Open Spacer can understand what happened - either by chance (most probably) or by experience and intuition (as sometimes I like to think) I had stumbled upon "self organizing systems" at work.
In a real business if you have done a good job, you