News and Events
More Workshops are taking shape on the horizon in 2017:
- Seattle, March 15 & 22, LSC3 focused (community consulting cooperative) with Fisher Qua, Rand Harper, and an ensemble of LS practitioners.
- Hamburg, Germany (June 1-2, 2017) hosted by Johannes Schartau with Fisher, Keith, and Henri! Sponsored by Holisticon, a management and IT consulting company.
Austin Texas (held August 2016). LS immersion + design studio jam. Photos here with the Austin user community and Anna Jackson. Vancouver, Canada (held February 22-23) with Nancy White and Tracy Kelly focusing on higher education photos here.
Reach out to LS users: Field stories and challenges are being shared in real-time on the LinkedIn group and Facebook group. There are 24+ public LS user groups across North America, Europe, and India. Many use MeetUp to organize participation. Check out the new French and German language websites.
Listen In! Coaching Zone Podcast with Keith McCandless and Dr. Krister Lowe. The focus is on how leaders and teams can develop more productive habits with LS. [45 minutes] Radio Interview with Meisha Rouser, organizational psychologist, and Keith. The focus is on LS and groups working at the top of their intelligence and imagination. And a third podcast interview with Amiel Handelsman that dips into specific LS microstructures and their use by groups to generate innovative cultures. [60 minutes]
LS NEWS "Reinventing How We Organize" [October 7, 2016].
NEW: Rhapsody for Strings, 9 LS maestros share and rhapsodize about their favorite LS Strings.
LS News: 2015 A Page-Turning Thriller
The year 2015 whirled by like a mysterious thriller that keeps you up all night. LS cannot be set down! In the collage below, I share a slice of the joy, wonder and suspense that bubbles up in the LS universe. It is a privilege to hear how people are liberating their lives and workplaces. Read more.
LS Means Serious Business!
Above: 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 @ the White House
University of Texas at El Paso professor of Communication, Dr. Arvind Singhal, designed an interactive, inclusive, two-day working meeting on the topic, Partners in Health: Aligning Clinical Systems, Faith and Community Assets. April 15-16, at the White House. Story here.
Faclitation note from Keith: As my practice with LS deepens, I have found it useful to notice specific practices and habits I have stopped (or am trying hard to stop). See below and "Falling Off the Horse" for more detail. What is your experience?
Liberating Structures, Complexity and Relational Coordination - A Webinar
Held Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Full recording via AdobeConnect here
Conventional wisdom suggests that incremental change and transformational change are opposites. Small relational changes generate marginal results and big formal changes are needed to transform an organization. Makes perfect sense. Too perfect.
Is it possible that the opposite is also accurate: incremental approaches are a path to quantum transformation?
By liberating many small adaptive and relational changes, is it possible to achieve critical mass? By doing so are we shifting attractor patterns? Are we changing the microdynamics and habits that underpin culture?
Keith McCandless of Liberating Structures, Jeff Cohn of the Plexus Institute and Jody Hoffer Gittell of the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative welcome you to explore the intersection between Liberating Structures, Complexity and Relational Coordination. Recording via AdobeConnect here.
New LS User Groups are launching in the US, the UK, Paris, and Germany. Check out all the locations. Not near you, start your own.
Austin, TX , November 6-7. 90+ participants from across Texas and the US immersed themselves in the LS repertoire. 16 microstructures were practiced and 10 lucky participants received help "stringing" design sessions--including the thinkEAST arts-based neighborhood development group. Serious play included workshop leaders Anna Jackson (Alpinista Consulting), Keith McCandless, Arvind Singhal, and Henri Lipmanowicz.
Clinton School for Public Service--An Entourage Approach To LS Immersion (November 2014)
We spent four fabulous days in Little Rock. Invited by Marie Lindquist (director of field service education), a group of LS practitioners offered four public workshops and two design sessions. A whirlwind from start to finish. A deep bow to Marie.
Twenty two microstructures were put into practice.
Henri and Keith gave a "formal presentation" for which Henri wore a tie! [gasp] Arvind Signhal was the Celebrity Interviewer and Talk Show Host.
More photos here from the Public Program at the Clinton School.
Read about this Seattle BeyondAgile gathering, Safely Taking More Risks with Liberating Structures. Software developers are keen for weaving LS into Lean, Agile, and other change methods. Keith McCandless was chief structured improvisationalist for the event.
System Problems Shout, Distributed Solutions Whisper
It is easy for us to see how our big systems and institutions are failing people. We WAIL, we WINGE, and we SHOUT.
It is much more difficult to see how tiny distributed interactions contribute to the failures or to the generation of solutions. The changes may seem inconspicuous, unpretentious, or fleeting. However, if you listen closely, you can hear the whispers and notice how they interlink and build on each other to spark momentum. Read more + access to all our News and Updates.
Need help liberating virtual meetings? Design checklist here. Most LS can be adapted for use with virtual conferencing technology platforms.
The color paperback book, The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash A Culture of Innovation, now available. A lower cost black-and-white version is available now ($19.95).
Seattle Workshops Completed (January 29-30, 2014)
DAY 1 Prepare To Be Surprised
DAY 2 Kicking It Up A Notch
75 people from organizations of all stripes joined in the action. We were able to:
- Give and receive LS-enhanced help with challenges
- Share multiple examples of exciting LS strings and design storyboards
- Learn how LS are being applied with virtual teams using web conferencing (WebEx and AdobeConnect)
- Play, practice and pounce on new Liberating Structures being invented by users
- Cultivate simple conditions that help spread and scale LS—up levels and out across settings; and,
- Gain insights from the new book: The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures.
Liberating Structures introduce tiny shifts in the way we meet, plan, decide and relate to one another and put in the hands of everyone the facilitative power once reserved for experts only.
User's Group Start-Up
Seattle LS users now have regular meet-ups. Maybe you want to start a group in your location. Here are a few details on how we started.
Once a month, we get together in downtown Seattle at the LIFFFT Studio. Each 90 minute session includes three activities: networking, getting & giving help, and learning something new together.
We rotate leadership and design responsibilities among the participants. Here is our design from August, 2013.
- NETWORKING: Connecting with people working in diverse domains and welcoming LS beginners into the mix via Impromptu Networking + Social Network Webbing
- GETTING & GIVING HELP: Using Heard~Seen~Respected to respond empathetically to challenges without over-helping
- LEARNING TOGETHER: Playing with Panarchy in order to spread new ideas across many levels simultaneously
Above are visual notes from our first gathering. We did a rapid cycle Purpose-To-Practice together. The seriously fun purpose that emerged was :
We exist to invent and enliven a new form of organizing by pondering, practicing, playing, and pouncing together
The group is breathing air into four trial balloons (below). We will keep you updated on what floats or sinks.
- A monthly face-to-face evening together in Seattle featuring use of LS to advance learning;
- Occasional virtual confabs that include international users and special projects;
- An annual Chautauqua/Open Space shindig;
- And, a LS twist on the Community Consulting model to help new users get direct experience with complex challenges (low or no cost services are provided to organizations via an experienced LS consultant and a team of less-experienced people that want to learn).
- Attract rather than compel new behavior: self-discovery among local groups and partners fuels behavior change (telling people what to does not work well)
- Look for what is already working but unseen to close the gap
- Pose "wicked" questions which groups will explore, making discoveries together over time
- Recognize that BIG challenges have widely distributed solutions, the origins of which cannot be known in advance
- Include more stakeholders and more diverse voices
- Make it very easy to copy new behaviors and innovations
- Fail forward: nearly everything the leaders do—including mistakes and struggles—should be transparent and explicit
- Employ easy-to-use methods to include and unleash everyone from people in the field to leaders
- What if everyone in your group, movement, or organization could move rapidly from novice-to-experienced innovators?
- What if novices could make contributions much bigger and better than predicted by experts or formal leaders?
- And what if including everyone could make it simple to implement, spread and sustain a transformation?
Weaving Together Lean and LS
At Kaizen Camp Seattle, Keith led participants in mini-LS sessions on getting started with LS. Many Lean and Design Thinking Practitioners find that Liberating Structures can be easily infused with or interpolated between other change methods.
Inventing A New LS: Caravan!
Shawn Henning, Fisher Qua, and Keith McCandless cooked up a new LS at Kaizen Camp. Shawn suggested a mash-up, Fisher dubbed it "Caravan," and Keith faciliated the premiere. The 18 participants found it to be a very successful and speedy way to get and give help. Three consulting groups of 5 rotated between three people asking for a consultation.
Microstructures are easy to combine and recombine into something new and powerful. Little changes, big differences!
Immersion Workshop Series in Seattle: The Cycle Complete
Workshop # 4 held April 3-4, Transforming Movements, is now complete. Presentation materials here. Redux wksp materials here. Many thanks to all the participants locally and internationally. This last workshop was very exciting. We focused on strings of Liberating Structures for knotty challenges. 80 participants prototyped design cards with very creative results!
During an Open Space session, a group generated ideas for "how to sell LS" with your people back home. See below. A favorite, "Do it! Use LS to sell LS."
Leading by Including & Unleashing Everyone--Transforming Movements
Transformations are more akin to a social movement than a project-to-be-managed. Key themes and practices in the workhsop will include:
Launch of LS Website
May 29, 2012
A deep bow to Ken Yu and Lesley Jacobs, the behind the scenes designers of this website. Someday they will have their own websites. Until then, I will be happy to make an introduction. firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured in The Doctor Weighs In blog. A two-part series. http://www.thedoctorweighsin.com/ Featuring Dr. Michael Gardam and LS as a disruptive innovation.
Toronto LS Workshop
with Keith McCandless and Liz Rykert (MetaStrategies)
Held in 2012 See announcements for current workshops above.
Workshop: Leading and Innovating with Liberating Structures
with Keith McCandless and Lisa Kimball (Plexus)
Workshop: Introduction to Liberating Structures for UTEP faculty and students
with Henri Lipmanowicz and Prof. Arvind Singhal
2012 University of Texas at El Paso
Workshop: Liberating Structues for Social Change with Henri Lipmanowicz, Prof. Arvind Singhal and Prof. Lucia Dura
El Paso, TX
Lecture/Workshop: Liberating Structures in practice for Clinton School of Public Service students with Henri Lipmanowicz and Prof. Arvind Singhal
Little Rock, AK