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Opening the Doors to OD

The world is in a sorry state. Divisions are deeper than ever, and our daily disappointment in humanity is rooted in complex systems of culture, social psychology, political ideology, alienation and apathy, widespread misunderstanding and misuse of science and social media, and dysfunctional societal and organizational design.

For these reasons, Organization Development (OD) is by far, the best equipped professional discipline to address these challenges. Unfortunately, it is also poorly positioned in the public domain, and competing financial self-interests make it difficult for the field-as-a-whole to move from noble intentions to a rallying cry.

We can certainly continue to examine and celebrate OD’s accomplishments while providing wholesale OD education and association to those who fit the mold and are able to afford tuition and membership. To an extent this was helpful in early years as the field coalesced and established its footing. However, by controlling access, education, and membership to the field, we may have unintentionally stunted our own growth.

This implies another path forward that is more accessible, equitable, and widespread. Setting pride aside, this alternate path includes seeking help from outside and turning our energy and attention to creating free, member-driven spaces that ignite the spirit, reach, and impact of our field to address pressing challenges to humanity in radically innovative ways. This is the path of OpenSourceOD.

A Fresh New Direction

OpenSourceOD is fashioning a free and open environment for all members of society, which includes self-directed online supports and virtual learning initiatives that seek to:

  • Address challenges to humanity within the organizational and societal domains.

  • Make OD knowledge and skills accessible and welcoming, both financially and intellectually, to everyone.

  • Cultivate groups of like-minded individuals based on their unique talents, competencies, and hopes for the world (not everyone wants to be a consultant!).

  • Develop brand new OD approaches that are intentionally focused on inclusion and innovation.

Below, I’ll outline how OpenSourceOD has, in just two months’ time, gained significant momentum with hundreds of new members representing a diverse range of backgrounds.

State of the Field Report

A field that is particularly good at holding a mirror up to leaders, teams, and organizations must first do the same with itself before it stands a chance at answering society’s call for help. OpenSourceOD will soon release and continue to update a radically honest State-of-the-Field Report that both includes and expands beyond traditional conceptualizations of OD in service to addressing modern challenges.

We will no longer examine OD solely as a discipline unto itself, but also include evidence of how the “train has left the station” – in other words, OD has already been adopted (wholly or partially), transformed, and integrated in various degrees with Human Resources, Talent Development, and DE&I, as well as a wide variety of social change efforts outside of the corporate realm.

In this report we also point to the disparity between skills required by employers and popular educational programs; including skills that employers seek but higher ed does not teach, and skills that are taught in higher ed that are not required by employers.

The purpose of this report is to help the field accept its current state and provide concrete suggestions to experts, educators, employers, and emerging practitioners to ignite the spirit, reach, and impact of OD beyond the walls we’ve erected.

OD Career Calling Assessment & Report

It is unrealistic to be all things to all people, which makes it difficult for most people to conceptualize their career development through the lens of “full-spectrum” OD competency models that cover every nook and cranny of knowledge and practice. Rising to the challenges mentioned above requires a simple, flexible, and inclusive competency model, as well as an assessment that not only measures mastery of skills, but also an individual’s preferences for the type of impact they would like to have, professional identity they wish to dovetail or transition to, and the type of approach they find most fulfilling. Still, such a system must delineate when a job ceases to be OD at all.

We created the OD Career Calling Assessment (now in beta) to accommodate this need. Rather than fitting round pegs into square holes, this assessment accommodates these unique preferences AND matches individuals with tailored resources that inspire the spirit, like-minded communities that expand the field’s reach, and real jobs that produce opportunities for positive impact.

To accomplish this, and to continuously approve, we triangulated findings from research with educators, experts, employers, and emerging practitioners. We are excited to share more about the OD Career Calling Model and Assessment in a future blog post!

OD Immersive Learning Circles

OD is not linear, and because we are facing a wide array of insidious social and structural challenges, our field needs a place outside of formal education where emerging OD practitioners may practice their craft and grow their confidence in navigating ethical dilemmas, hidden agendas, biases, and stubborn ideologies.

OD Immersive Learning Circles provides a scenario-based learning platform where practitioners may practice OD skills within a real case study and real-life actors. The goal is to help all of us strengthen moral discernment, develop a reflective practice, increase our overall awareness, and embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.

Our upcoming OD practice sessions, which blend acted out case studies with expert facilitated dialogue, provide a space where multiple practitioners may practice their form and in a safe space, honing their techniques and skill levels, and helping others do the same. More on this in a future blog post!

OD Innovation Labs

We have reverse engineered and simplified OD so that anyone who has a basic understanding of the OpenSourceOD approach can freely and rapidly prototype, test, and share brand new OD approaches. Through free and open Innovation Labs we seek to push OD outside of its dependence on a few popular approaches. While it’s important to celebrate and learn successful frameworks like Appreciative Inquiry and Action Learning, we need to invite divergent perspectives and make it easy for others to create and contribute by drawing from their own cultural and contextual awareness. Creativity inspires!

It is also worth mentioning that most popular OD interventions have been developed in just one hemisphere of the world! It’s time to expand the development of new approaches. We plan to utilize available technologies to translate our website for broader appeal and application.

How You Can Help

You can get involved immediately through several channels. Think about your unique talents, and how you yearn to contribute to a better world. Then, read through these opportunities and get in touch to join one of our teams!

  • Become a Blog Contributor: Many OD Journals are locked behind paywalls and are obscured by language (I’m guilty myself on this one) that is too academic. We need highly knowledgeable OD practitioners who believe in the OpenSourceOD vision and can write about OD in “plain English!” Blog contributors are our front-line in gaining the public’s attention and understanding and inviting them to contribute directly to this cause. Learn more here!

  • Share this Article: Spread awareness right now by sharing this blog post on social media!

  • Test and Share Feedback on Beta Solutions: Help test and continuously provide feedback on our beta versions; post what you loved about it through social media, and share what we can improve internally with (or better yet “as part of”) our team.

  • Join our State of the Field Research Team: Learn how to analyze jobs, make entries, and be listed as a contributor!

  • Inspire Newbies: Join the community chat room that matches your Career Calling Preference and post your career vision and mission. Inspire others to do the same!

  • Integrate OSOD with your Class: Educators can invite students to take assessments, practice in Immersive Learning Circles, and demonstrate their knowledge of OpenSourceOD by constructing new OD approaches in Innovation Labs.

  • Integrate OSOD with your Hiring: Employers can take the Career Calling Assessment from the perspective of a person that would be an inspiring fit for a particular position, and then post the job posting in that specific community chat board.

To ignite the spirit of this initiative, we are officially kicking things off with a virtual Launch Party on August 24th with exclusive access to our beta programs and assessments! And what’s a PARTY without contests and prizes?! Here’s the link:

If you are fed up with the state of the world and see a connection between your value system and the vision of OpenSourceOD, reach out to us directly at, join our launch party, subscribe and share this blog, and become a member TODAY (it’s free and you’ll be in great company!).

Keep looking up! Bill Brendel

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