Over the last weeks I met many people in online events. I heard many voices, different perspectives and ideas about meeting and collaborating in the virtual realm. There are the nostalgic voices struggling with the online environment. There are the keen voices seeing opportunities in the hybrid reality. Above all I observe some common threads:

  • There is a strong longing for human connections, for being in contact, for having space and time to relate and exchange. 
  • There is a yearning for human qualities. I hear words like energy, humour, fun, creativity, courage, freedom, engagement, trust and vulnerability.
  • There is a hunger for an update or even a reset in the way how we meet, relate and work together. People long for different kinds of meetings where interaction is at the heart. People want meetings that matter. They want purpose.

The fact that people realize and express that they miss each other and long for personal exchanges, tells us how important the human-ware is in the virtual space. Collaboration is not about technology, smart tools  or bullet points, it is about people in interaction. As simple as that.

Collaboration is about synergy, about needing each other to create our best work.
Creativity and inspiration from working together is one of the best things about collaboration.

Quotes I noted during my field trip

So, how do we want to meet, now and in the future?

This question is not new but definitely accelerated by the restrictions of the pandemic. Luckily, there are many experimenting folks and teams, communities and networks. The transformation is ongoing and hopefully  – thanks to Covid – speeding up and reaching into all corners and cracks of organizations.

An interesting path forward is set in motion by Liberating Structures. I am happy to be part of this silent revolution that has the creative power to liberate and humanize collaboration. Its premise: collaboration is interaction. Its promise: by changing the way we structure our interaction we will change our collaboration.

Liberating Structures as not only brainy but wholesome.

Karijn Kakebeeke

This brings me to Karijn Kakebeeke, a visual storyteller and visual M&E specialist. In this short video she is pleading for involving and engaging our whole person, not just our brains, when we work together. She describes the approach of Liberating Structures as “not only brainy but wholesome”. She also mentions that the structures are “seemingly simple but nail it”. I love that, it brings it to the point. Liberating Structures is for everyone to learn, to practice and to love.

Watch the 3 minutes video interview here:

So, let’s have a look at this intriguing observation that Liberating Structures is activating our heads, hearts and hands.

The answer comes directly from the Liberating Structures toolbox:

Structures that connect, build trust and relationships: Impromptu Networking, 1-2-4-all, Appreciative Interviews, Troika Consulting. These are the most important basic structures, but basically all the structures are connecting. Also Heard-Seen-Respected, Social Network Webbing, possibly even Generative Relationships/STAR, and What I Need From You have a strong relational impact.

Structures that are based on spontaneity, gut feeling and spark our curiosity: Mad Tea Party, Making Space with TRIZ, Ecocycle Planning, Conversion Cafe.

Structures that challenge our thinking and reasoning, push us out of our habits and comfort zones:  Making Space with TRIZ, Wicked Questions, Helping Heuristics, Heard-Seen-RespectedPanarchy, Improv Prototyping, MinSpecs, Agreement/Certainty Matrix, Purpose to Practice, 9 Whys, Critical Uncertainties.

Structures that work with silence, listening, movement and visual thinking: Back-to-back listening, Helping Heuristics, Heard-Seen-Respected, 25/10 Crowd Sourcing, Drawing Together, Tiny Demons, Simple EthnographySocial Network Webbing, Spiral Journal, 10×10 writing.

Structures that invite for experimentation: Improv Protoyping, Making Space with TRIZ, Options Place, and Ecocycle Planning.

With Liberating Structures our brains will work at full speed, and more than that, Liberating Structures activates brain, body and heart. Definitely. There is energy in the room. Aliveness. Humanness. 


Join us one of the upcoming opportunities to dive into the Liberating Structures toolbox, the underlying mindset, the way of being, thinking, doing and leading to take your collaboration practice to the next level!

Upcoming workshops

Could Liberating Structures guide us into the leadership we need?
April 28, 9-12h CET on Zoom 
Information and registration >>CLICK HERE<<

Liberating Structures Online Immersion Workshop for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Specialists
Part 1: April 19 & 20 and part 2: May 10 & 11, 13h30 -16h30 CET
GIVEAWAY: Sign up asap and get up to 2 pre-workshop coaching sessions on March 22 and April 12, from 13h – 14h30 CET
Information and registration >>CLICK HERE<<

Liberating Structures Online Immersion Workshop
May 31 – June 3, 14h-17h CET
BONUS: Sign up as soon as possible and you will benefit from up to 3 explorative Broad Stroke Sessions on March 26, 14h30-16h, April 23, 15h30-17h and May 18, 15h30-17h CET
Information and registration >>CLICK HERE<<

Gesprekken zonder haast – Unhurried Conversations (in Dutch)
22 maart 19-20 uur – thema: kennis – intuïtie
13 april 9-10 uur – thema: nu – morgen
27 mei 9-10 uur – thema: stabiliteit – verandering
28 juni 19-20 uur – thema: online – offline
Information and registration for free! >>CLICK HERE<<