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Liberating Structures in Development

Do you want to invent or experiment with new Liberating Structures?  

If yes, join in here.  

Below is a group of new and very promising microstructures in the works. They need more vetting, sifting and sorting with different types of organizations and groups to be added to the LS repertoire.

The nascent LS are arrayed in an order from more developed to less developed, plus a few important twists on existing LS at the end. Each has its own materials to review and an evaluation form to use after your field tests.

Download the files and take a look. Give them a try. Join in the design and invention process. Tell us about your experience.


Talking with Pixies  Identify beliefs and assumptions that limit your progress  [presentation materials, field test evaluation]

MindMeld  Make all the observations, patterns, and action ideas visual for everyone to see  [descriptionpresentation material, field test evaluation]

Network Patterning Cards  Identify and shape more productive network patterns  [description, presentation materials, field test evaluation]

Future~Present  Develop imaginative tactics for scaling up from local to global action  [description, presentation materials, field test evaluation]

Positive Gossip  Start turning around a destructive pattern of negative gossip

Mad Tea  Create a bigger, richer, and funner context for taking action & gaining insight

Caravan  Practice requesting and giving help from a supportive subgroup

GriefWalking  Tap into social support while moving forward through a loss or profound transition

Strategy Knotworking  Answer six questions to shape strategy together

Relational Coordination Mapping

Lean Coffee [see link to, a structured yet agenda-less meeting]

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Important Twists on Existing LS microstructures:

Liquid Courage [incorporated as a twist on Impromptu Networking]

Kanban + Ecocycle

An inventive group working with the LS in development backlog at Lake Wenatchee. Greg Myers, Molly Angel, Jeff Carter, Shannon Patterson, Fisher Qua, Charley Haley, Nancy White, Keith McCandless, Alex Dunne, Larry White (from left to right).

Liberating Structures are invented in more than one way. Some of the current repertoire of 33 (v 2.2) are adapted from well documented change methods and others were invented in the field over the last 12 years. 

Each LS has been tested in numerous settings with different types of organizations and groups. They all generate productive endpoints – results that are often better than what you expect or can imagine. Each LS specifies a detailed set of elements designed to generate a specific form of results. The microstructural design elements include:

  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
  5. a sequence of steps and time allocation

These five elements are the minimum specifications (Min Specs) or essential foundation required to generate results with each Liberating Structure. It takes time and practice to arrive at the minimum. A successful liberating microstructure is built chunk by chunk, often failing forward to make progress.  

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.  Antoine de Saint Exupery

The LS backlog as of August 2015.

Self-Assessment Questions for Liberating Structures in Development


Do you have an idea for a new Liberating Structure?  Here are questions you can ask yourself to test the fit:

  1. Simple: Does your approach require only a few minutes to introduce?
  2. Self-spreading: Is it easy to copy without formal training?
  3. Expert-less: Is it possible for beginners to get positive results after a first experience?
  4. Results-focused: Is it likely to generate better-than-expected innovative results?
  5. Rapid cycling: Can it be facilitated in fast iterative rounds? 
  6. Inclusive: Does it invite everyone to shape next steps together?
  7. Multi-scale: Does it facilitate advances in everyday meetings, big projects, strategy-making, and transforming movements in groups of any size?
  8. Seriously fun: Does it boost joy, freedom & responsibility when used?
  9. Adaptable: Does it spread with fidelity to Min Specs while adapting to local settings? Can it fit easily within or alongside other change initiatives?
  10. Micro-structured: Does it precisely structure an invitation, distribute participation, configure groups, arrange space, and sequence time?
  11. Modular: Can it be combined & recombined endlessly with other LS? 


Tell me and I’ll forget.  Show me and I may not remember.  Involve me and I’ll understand.  Native American Proverb