FAQs > Everything you always wanted to know about Liberating Structures! > Do LS play well with other change approaches (e.g., Lean, Design Thinking)?
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Users report that LS are complementary to technical, expert-centered methods. LS do not replace these approaches. They are appropriate for use by everyone, especially non-experts.
LS are very small structures designed carefully to include everybody in shaping next steps. They are composed with modularity in mind: the parts can be arranged and re-arranged in novel combinations. To reach productive endpoints, each can be used separately or together in strings and are simple enough to reconfigure as you go. While every micro-structure employs minimum specifications, users are invited to “first learn and then break the rules.”
These structural attributes provide relief to three common challenges.
No black box. Precise minimum specs--the invitation, participation, space, groups and timing/sequence—are spelled out in detail to help users design and recombine freely.
No ideological strictures. LS have no allegiance to an ideology or expert-centered methodology. In the field, LS complement a very diverse array of change approaches. LS can add momentum to change efforts that have stalled by cultivating ownership and self-organization beyond typical participation programs. Diminutive size and velocity help LS fit in without ideological or methodological filtering.
No innate gifts or extensive training required. LS can be used productively regardless of personal charisma, emotional intelligence, or spiritual depth. In contrast to the conventional story about leadership requiring a set of personal qualities that people are born with or need to develop through extensive training, you can use microstructures successfully if you are introverted and don't like to make eye contact.
Lean practitioners have successfully integrated LS into their work. Often, they see LS as “relational coordination” that complements more technical process improvement and value stream mapping activities. Design Thinking practitioners also find LS complementary. LS help non-designers participate more fully in ethnographic observations and prototyping efforts. With Lean and Design Thinking, LS complement efforts to distribute participation and unleash creativity up and down in the organization. Many more people can be included without extensive training or restructuring.
Last updated on January 9, 2015 by Keith McCandless