Then Harrison Owen (originator of Open Space Technology) offered this perspective:
...I think that the value might lie in understanding that operative power underlying all three "methods" is self-organization. And to the extent that any of them "work" they do so because self-organization works.
It then might be very useful to consider how each method enhances the possibility for effective self-organization. What is the same and what is different?
From where I sit, it is all open space (not Open Space Technology) and the critical question is how can we most effectively work with it?
To quote my now favorite mantra -- "There is no such thing as a non-self organizing system." There are only some mildly deluded people who think they organized it. And there are also, I am sure, an infinite number of effective ways to enhance our capacity to work intelligently in the self-organizing environment.
This led me to ponder how Scrum and other Agile methods --which are powered by self-organization-- use container, meaningful exchanges, and significant differences. (I wrote a bit about these ideas here.
It's worth making these connections explicit. When people don't know why particular practice works, or how a practice interacts with other practices, it's easy to misapply the methods. (And then wonder why its not working.)
For example, I talked to someone who was frustrated with stand up meetings. When I asked some questions, it came out that in their organization, stand-up meetings lasted two hours and included 30-40 people. (No wonder they were frustrated.)
Some where along the way, the essence of the stand-up meeting and its purpose of enabling meaningful exchanges within the context of the container got lost.