Liberating Structures reflections

Posted on

Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a 2 day Liberating Structures (LS) workshop event in London, UK, facilitated by Anna Jackson and Fisher Qua, who came over from Texas and Seattle, respectively. Also kudos to David Heath who organised the event with Happy, and all design team facilitators.

We experienced less than half of the total 33 LS practices and for more information please refer to Liberating Structures.

Originally designed by Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz, they have established a Creative Commons licence for them. This means that new practices are being designed and promoted, and anybody can use them and teach them.

The value proposition of LS is to unleash the collective freedom in participation from the shared understanding of simple rules. These rules are manifested as interaction formats and how the physical space is configured.

This duality is very impactful because it drastically steers away from conventional meetings sitting down around a table. For example, an impactful LS practice for me was Troika Consulting. In this practice, a group of three people rotate to play the role of a consultant and client. During the practice, clients turn their backs to consultants to focus on listening, while consultants share their insights on the problem shared by the client.

Aside from dual configuration opportunities (interaction format and physical space configuration), stringing LS is very impactful. Imagine you have a full day workshop to facilitate. Based on the context and desired outcome(s), you take on the task of engineering a chain of interaction formats. The ambition is to manage the flow of energy and maintain sustained engagement. A plus is that you can swap LS practices during the event to adapt to output of practices or attendees feedback.

And what about applying LS at work? Have successfully used 1-2-4-ALL in retrospectives and What/So What/Now What with Agile product discovery and delivery teams. Have yet to find an opportunity to leverage LS during a half day or full day workshop. Also, have been thinking how to incorporate LS to many Product delivery techniques (e.g. how can we improve creating an impact map?).

And how about applying LS in my life? Plan to use ecoycle planning to review my career’s past/present/future with the help of a spiral journal warm up session.

Want to share your experiences with LS?



How can we stay in touch with reality to allow for infinite possibilities? I aim to inspire, think differently and challenge traditional ideas. [read more]