Liberating Structures: Simple Rules for Including Everyone in Shaping the Future

Submitted by Sylvia Cheuy on April 4, 2013 - 5:13pm

The Liberating Structures website is a “gold mine” for anyone searching for new and effective ways to design how people work together in ways that enable them to harness their creativity.  The site’s menu of thirty-three Liberating Structures offers a rich array of design options for effective meetings that create the conditions for collective wisdom to flourish.  For Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz, co-founders of Liberating Structures, the intent behind the website is their desire for “everyone to learn to foster big changes by inviting people to make small structural changes in how they work together."  Five basic elements define the underlying design of virtually every group gathering:  They are:

  1. A structuring invitation
  2.  How the space is arranged and what materials are needed
  3.  How participation is distributed
  4.  How groups are configured; and,
  5.  A sequence of steps and time allocation

 Liberating Structures are designed with variations on these five structural elements. The elements are the minimum specifications (Min Specs) or essential foundation required to generate results with each Liberating Structure. Understanding this foundation helps in facilitating with the Liberating Structures. Because Liberating Structures are quite simple and easy to learn, they can be used by everyone at every level, from the executive suite to the grassroots. No lengthy training courses or special talents are required. Mastery is simply a matter of practice.