Liberated : energy, creativity and purpose, being alive, engaged and committed

The little word ‘liberating’ in Liberating Structures intrigues me. I see the potential for ‘liberation’, especially in the context of organizational learning, collaboration and meeting culture. In many of our habits and processes for how we meet and collaborate there is room for more freedom, inclusion and creativity. The one-size-fits-all concept is not working. We need adapted processes for each meeting, workshop, event, each time again.

One of my ambitions as a process guide and facilitator is to plant a seed within the group that it can be fulfilling and effective to work together and tap the full potential of everyone present. If it’s not people who suck but the processes they’re in and the habits they’ve learned, then we are able to change it.
Anja Ebers

So how can we free ourselves from habits and processes that suck and make us stuck? What does a liberated workshop look like? How does it feel to participate in one? How does it smell? What color does it have?

My experience of a liberated meeting

Yes, me too, in my earlier organizational life experienced many standard meetings. Some were productive but often they weren’t. They were boring, colorless and dysfunctional with lots of information sharing and few joint reflections that got us to the core of the challenges we faced. Bad habits like coming late or being absent during the meeting were the consequences. I left many meetings with an unsatisfied and frustrated feeling. I was not the only one. But then we introduced Kanban. We organized our weekly team meetings around the Kanban board. Everything changed. In Kanban I felt liberated. Energy was back, so was the purpose and the commitment.

The shift to Kanban meetings was one of the best and most productive initiative in my organizational meeting life. When our habits get in our way, alarm bells should ring. It is time to rethink what we do and how we do things.

What changed with Kanban were several things. We had:

  • A structured but flexible and adaptive process, co-designed by the people involved, with openness and choice based on our agreement in the team;
  • A transparent and inclusive approach asking for everyone to take responsibility and leadership;
  • Clarity of purpose;
  • Questions that mattered.

The best rooms are those without the answer, but with a shared desire to seek it together.
Chris Corrigan

More stories of liberated meetings, workshops and events

What Kanban does fine for weekly team meetings Liberating Structures can do for many other types of gatherings that need collaboration. Liberating Structures offers a set of group participation structures, easy to learn and use. All mini structures are based on 10 principles that engrave the liberated spirit.

Principle #7 ‘Amplify freedom and responsibility’ is one of the 10 principles of Liberating Structures

Putting these principles to practice means:

  • Investing time to define and clarify a shared purpose – you might want to label your meeting accordingly.
  • Following an open and networked approach in organizing and co-designing the meeting, workshop or learning event.
  • Sharing responsibility for the process.
  • Encouraging and supporting people to step into the role of the co-facilitator.
  • Giving people authority over their learning process.
  • Inviting diversity into the room and involving all voices to be seen and heard.
  • Giving people a chance to use and contribute their talents.
  • Inviting spontaneity, improvisation and play.
  • Staying curious by adopting an open mindset ready to go beyond the obvious and with a gentle push out of the comfort zone.
  • Having fun.


Are you interested to shake your meeting habits up?

Join the Liberating Structures ‘social’ immersion workshop in The Hague and explore the philosophy and mindset behind Liberating Structure yourself. Reflect with peers how to integrate Liberating Structures into your meetings, workshops and learning events.

Liberating Structures ‘social’ immersion workshop
December 12th and 13th 2018 at the Igluu in The Hague, Netherlands
More information:  Liberating Structures ‘social’ immersion workshop
–> Register here

It would be great to welcome you personally in The Hague.

Related stories