“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton

The buzz about invitation – what inspired us

Caterfly’s Open Smart Transformation model is a derivative of Prime/OS™. A good part of Caterfly’s approach and Open Smart Transformation model was initially inspired by Open Agile Adoption (OAA) developed by Daniel Mezick. Open Agile Adoption itself applies the work of Harrison Owen in Open Space Technology, commonly Open Space. Daniel Mezick identified some unique properties of Open Space Technology related to game theory, especially its characteristic (‘pull’) opt-in invitation approach (Law of 2 Feet) rather than by imposition (‘push’). What is unique about OAA in Daniel’s use of Open Space Technology, however, is his re-framing and application of Open Space for a specific purpose, specifically in applying two Open Space events to frame a transformation process. From this he developed OAA (Open Agile Adoption) for ‘pull’-style agile implementations.

This work is based on Prime/OS™, published as an Open Source, Free Cultural Work via the CC-BY-SA license from Creative Commons.
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We have always maintained that the people affected by any form of system implementation or transformation must first and foremost be consulted and invited into the process and the decision-making, so we immediately recognised the relevance of Daniel’s work beyond its Agile application. In fact we are not Agile coaches and to that degree OAA is not directly relevant to us. However we recognised that the principle Daniel was propagating is relevant way beyond pure Agile adoption, indeed it is applicable to the adoption of any system, like lean, systems thinking, responsive org, sociocracy or sustainability management, or indeed to any form of organisational transformation.

From this we developed the concept of the Caterfly, denoting the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, starting with the building of a protective cocoon and ending with the breaking out of it, with a long period of gestation in between; or in Caterfly a beginning and an end Open Space event each with various coaching iterations in between. The ‘cocoon’ is marked time-wise by the two Open Space events. The metamorphosis can represent any adoption, cultural change or transformation process an organisation seeks to undergo – and it does so not by mandating or imposing, but by inviting all affected to co-write the change or adoption story.

Daniel Mezick had independently come to a similar conclusion and had renamed his extended application as Prime/OS™. Consequently we have agreed to regard our Open Smart Transformation as a derivative of Prime/OS™, under a Creative Commons license, which enables us to follow those before us in gifting our work to the Intellectual Commons. The approaches are similar at this point, although this may change with experience. The only modificaton we have made so far is in the follow up phase III where we introduce Kaizen. We believe a process of learning should continue beyond adoption, and Kaizen creates an excellent platform for this continous renewal, responsiveness and innovation.

We are pleased to be connected with Daniel Mezick on this very important contribution to organisational transformation. We enjoy Daniel’s double-open space cocoon framework because it offers an excellent platform to invite the people affected by the change into the decision and planning process, and to co-create the change.

As Open Space facilitators we would also like to acknowledge and appreciate the work of Harrision Owen and the hundreds of Open Space facilitators around the world who have run many thousands of Open Space events over more than 20 years and have proven that Open Space is one of the most effective transformation preparatory tools around.

Caterfly’s predominant role is to support and enhance coaches and trainers running a transformation programme with Open Space events. We facilitate the framing Open Space events and leave the coaches and consultants to run their programme as usual.


Further reading
Daniel Mezick’s site is a great repository for further information and writing around the subject.
* Find out more about Open Space at our ‘What is Open Space?’ page, where there are also links to further resources including Harrison Owen’s work.
* Full description of the Open Smart Transformation model