The surprising power of liberating structures

Lipmanowicz, H., & McCandless, K. (2014). The surprising power of liberating structures: Simple rules to unleash a culture of innovation.

very short summary

“The surprising power of liberating structures” shows how to change your organization towards more innovation and engagement through small shifts in the protocols of how we meet, plan and interact with each other.

There are detailed descriptions of 33 “liberating structures”: ways to organize your interactions. They differ from traditional structures because they distribute the control of content among all the participants so that they can shape direction together as the action unfolds. 

some of my favourite lines

"Reflection in silence is an extremely valuable but consistently underutilized structural element in meetings." (p.23)

"The liberating leadership practice we advocate is to include people before the fact to that they can participate in shaping decisions and programs that affect and implicate them." (p.55)

"Changes don't have to be forced from above but can be discovered and cocreated by the participants." (p.45)

"Small changes generate big results." (p.4)

turn to page

for one of the simplest but most powerful tools: 1-2-4-all

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to read about liberating structures and culture change

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to read a cool story about turning a business around

OR: visit the website

my personal opinion

If you are stuck in the 5 conventional methods (presentation, managed discussion, status report, open discussion and brainstorm) and you struggle with low engagement and/or little results, then this book can offer you powerful insights and tools. It might feel a bit awkward in the beginning, but once you plunge in, you will experience the energy. Certainly for TURN it is a valuable toolset as we share the same principles: small changes create big results, involving people deeply, and once you get to know it, it is infectious.


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