Liberating structures are simple working methods to exploit the potential of an entire group or even organization. A set of fun techniques to reach consensus effectively. A collection of 33 ‘microstructures’ conceived (read: largely collected * and edited) by Keith McCandles and Henri Lipmanowicz that you can combine to your heart’s content. You can see the inspiring story of both men in this video.
Divide and conquer
The core principle behind the Liberating structures is ‘make it small’. If you want the input of a large group, break it up into small groups. This way everyone is covered and you still stay within an acceptable period of time. Simple and effective. And liberating. So liberating.
In my role as Scrum master and Agile coach I regularly deploy one or more Liberating structures. I’m a fan! At the same time I am also critical. The theory and examples are inspiring, but daily practice is often unruly. Bringing a group of inquisitive scrum masters along with Liberating structures is simply easier than enthusing team members in resistance mode or managers who run over work.
In my blog posts I always discuss a Liberating structure (Where is the pain? What does this micro-structure solve? How does it work?) And add my practical experience. Including useful tips.
The Liberating structures can be combined well with Learning 3.0 about which Alexandre Magno wrote his book ‘ How Creative Workers Learn’ . Scrum coach Christiaan Verwijs explains the synergy in a clear blog .
Working with LS strings
If you want to take the Liberating structures to the next level, make a series of structures. We call this a string, a logical combination of several working forms behind and together. I once strung together a morning program for a team day with 6 different Liberating structures.
Despite the fact that I remain critical, enthusiasm predominates. I therefore hope that you will use these techniques. Combine, refine. Or even come up with your own structures.
Have fun with the Liberating structures!
LSD Coach and freelance agilist
* An alternative (and presumably source of inspiration) to the Liberating Structures is Myrna Lewis’ Deep Democracy .