Liberating Structures

Credit where credit is due! All material comes from this site: http://www.liberatingstructures.com/ and was created by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless. 

Liberating Structures are a meeting design tool used at Ian Martin to build and create conversations and discussions that provoke original thought and meaningful dialogue.

There are 33 tools in the suite and as an example, one of the more commonly used tools at IMG is listed below

Visit the website to see the full list and learn more about how you can use Liberating Structures to create more Equal Talking Time in your teams. 

1-2-4-All

1. Structuring Invitation

Ask a question in response to the presentation of an issue, or about a problem to resolve or a proposal put forward (e.g., What opportunities do YOU see for making progress on this challenge? How would you handle this situation? What ideas or actions do you recommend?)

2. How Space Is Arranged and Materials Needed

  • Unlimited number of groups
  • Space for participants to work face-to-face in pairs and foursomes
  • Chairs and tables optional
  • Paper for participants to record observations and insights

3. How Participation Is Distributed

  • Everyone in the group is included (often not the facilitator)
  • Everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute

4. How Groups Are Configured

  • Start alone, then in pairs, then foursomes, and finally as a whole group

5. Sequence of Steps and Time Allocation

  • Silent self-reflection by individuals on a shared challenge, framed as a question (e.g., What opportunities do YOU see for making progress on this challenge? How would you handle this situation? What ideas or actions do you recommend?) 1 min.
  • Generate ideas in pairs, building on ideas from self-reflection. 2 min.
  • Share and develop ideas from your pair in foursomes (notice similarities and differences). 4 min.
  • Ask, “What is one idea that stood out in your conversation?” Each group shares one important idea with all (repeat cycle as needed). 5 min.