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Plexus Institute LIBERATING STRUCTURES Big Change through Small Interventions Lisa Kimball www. plexusinstitute. org Plexus Institute LIBERATING STRUCTURES Big Change through Small Interventions Lisa Kimball www. plexusinstitute. org CBODN Silver Spring, MD April 29 2011 1

Structure of Speed Networking 1. Space – Open – Standing face to face 2. Structure of Speed Networking 1. Space – Open – Standing face to face 2. Participation – Everybody at once and at the same time + equal time for all 3. Configurations – Pairs – Strangers preferably 4. Time allocation – 2 minutes person – 3 rounds 5. Conceptual Framework – 1 issue question – 1 solution question

Components of all Structures 1. Space: physical arrangements 2. Participation: who is included, how, Components of all Structures 1. Space: physical arrangements 2. Participation: who is included, how, when and how much 3. Configurations: sizes and composition of groups 4. Time allocation: time spent in each configuration 5. Conceptual framework: a concept, a question or a purpose that informs the interaction

The Importance of Engagement • • Widens the circle of involvement Involves the whole The Importance of Engagement • • Widens the circle of involvement Involves the whole system Increases commitment and energy Connects people to each other and to ideas Generates better solutions Creates communities for action Turns meetings into working sessions Speeds up implementation

Problems & Opportunities Awareness Iceberg 4% known to top leaders 9% known to middle Problems & Opportunities Awareness Iceberg 4% known to top leaders 9% known to middle managers 74% known to supervisors 100% Action unleashed @ the front line Internationally acclaimed study conducted by Sidney Yoshida, initially presented at the International Quality Symposium known to the front line

New Option for Transformation → Same people → Same incentives → Same organizational structure New Option for Transformation → Same people → Same incentives → Same organizational structure → NEW CONVERSATIONS

Relationships and CONVERSATIONS Relationships and CONVERSATIONS

Decentralized, Small Talk Polite Conversation • Fully autonomous • Unconnected • Unstable relationships • Decentralized, Small Talk Polite Conversation • Fully autonomous • Unconnected • Unstable relationships • Diverse or Uniform • Random growth

Centralized, Ordered Discussion Facilitated, Bureaucratic Talk • Largely dependent • Connected by power/permission • Centralized, Ordered Discussion Facilitated, Bureaucratic Talk • Largely dependent • Connected by power/permission • Fixed relationships • Uniform • Growth from center out

Distributed, Generative Talk Messy, Loose, Complex & Creative • Largely autonomous contributions • Connected Distributed, Generative Talk Messy, Loose, Complex & Creative • Largely autonomous contributions • Connected by simple rules that guide local relationships • Diverse and uniform participation • Growth from any point in any direction • Order arises out of local interaction & conversation

Methods that shift interactions Stories versus PPT Listening, Silence Big Questions Improvising Diversity of Methods that shift interactions Stories versus PPT Listening, Silence Big Questions Improvising Diversity of formats: pairs, small groups, large groups • Focus on purpose • Inviting participation, minimizing status differences • • • Rapid learning & prototyping cycles • Feedback loops • Network weaving • Innovative ways to harvest output • Natural environment • Movement, Fun • Social elements, mixing participants

Liberating Structures Some examples of an expanding, adaptable mash-up of open source methods 1. Liberating Structures Some examples of an expanding, adaptable mash-up of open source methods 1. Appreciative Interviews 2. Agreement / Uncertainty Matrix 3. Creative Destruction via TRIZ 4. Wicked Questions 5. Min Specs 6. Chunking via Rapid Prototyping 7. Improv 8. 15% Solutions 9. Open Space Technology 10. Ecocycle Sifting & Gathering 11. Panarchy: Cross-Scale Change 12. Conversation Café Dialogue 13. Discovery & Action Dialogue 14. Wise Crowds Group Consultation 15. 16. 17. 18. Smart Network Mapping Generative Relationships Purpose-To-Practice Design Scenario Planning Critical Uncertainties 19. Impromptu Speed Networking 20. 1 -2 -4 -Whole Group 21. Troika Consulting 22. Fishbowl Sessions – “What I Need From You” 23. Celebrity Interview 24. 5 Whys & 10 Hows 25. Storyboarding Agendas 26. Positive Deviance We search for the minimum structure to liberate the maximum innovation

Attributes of LS Methods What Other Methods Come To Mind? • Simple & fast Attributes of LS Methods What Other Methods Come To Mind? • Simple & fast to learn • Requires very little explanation or theory • Draws out insight from interaction • Works with groups, units, or the whole organization • Focuses attention on relationship patterns • Minimally structured for maximum liberation • Generates surprises & novelty without central control (light coordination only) • Invites seriously-playful participation • Appeals to people in diverse roles • Generates very short- and long-term results • Illuminates an edge or paradoxical territory • Identifies and builds on assets that exist now • Invites inclusion & more diverse voices • Works with internal and external customers

Liberating Structures Workshop • 30 + different methods • Single organization: all layers together, Liberating Structures Workshop • 30 + different methods • Single organization: all layers together, top to bottom • Community with shared interests • Ideal 2. 5 days + 2 days of coaching sessions • Experiential, “try it NOW” • Intense, Rapid Cycles • Fun, Seriously! • Complexity Theory – little or none, adjustable to interests • Focus on real challenges, mundane and sublime

Typical Workshop Agenda DAY I – 8: 30 am-5: 00 pm Welcome and Purpose Typical Workshop Agenda DAY I – 8: 30 am-5: 00 pm Welcome and Purpose [] Impromptu Networking Quick Rounds of Conversation With “Strangers” [20] [] Introducing LS and Purpose [] Appreciative Interviews Creating Momentum by Building On and Designing With “What Works Right Now” [45] twist: flip a problem into an appreciative search for solutions [] Agreement)(Certainty Matching Matrix Matching Simple, Complicated, & Complex Approaches to Specific Challenges [30] self-reflection, then pairs, then place challenges on BIG wall chart. Group review. [] Ecocycle Planning Engaging Groups in Growing and Sifting Their Portfolio of Activities [60] What do you notice about the distribution? Any surprises in the Poverty or Rigidity Traps? [] 15% Solutions Noticing and Using the Influence, Discretion and Power Individuals Have Right Now Twist: move one challenge (from the Ecocycle) forward with a 15% Solution, then Troika consult [] Lunch [] Making Space with TRIZ Designing a Perfectly Adverse System to Make Space [45 -60] Themes: important customer or patient interaction [] Flocking CAS [15] How do innovations spread? [] Work-In-Progress Group Consultation Tapping the “Wisdom of Crowds” To Solve Problems Together [60] Possibilities: a big launch, coordination across silos or boundaries, a chronic/messy problem [] Design Party Debrief Session Reflecting on Your Design-In-Progress and Making Adjustments -As-You-Go (what? so what? now what? among a small group in the front of the room… link to ladder of inference) [] Social Time and Dinner Together DAY II – 8: 30 am-5: 00 pm DAY III – 8: 30 am-1: 30 pm [] Conversation Café Dialogue [] Open Space Technology Making Sense of and Forming Consensual Hunches about Big Challenges [60] Themes: using LS in your work… Liberating Inherent Creativity and Leadership In Large Groups with an Action-Orientation [120] Application of Liberating Structures to an important challenges for ABC organization [] Graphic Story. Boarding Illustrating a Design Process for Key Meetings [10] [] Generative Relationships [] Wicked Questions Understanding Patterns in Relationships that Create Surprising, New Sources of Value Pick a key group you are in right now and apply the STAR self-assessment… then action steps. Framing a Paradoxical Challenge That Engages Everyone’s Imagination [30] Link to Café: how can we confidently use Liberating Structures without knowing what will unfold? [] Positive Deviance: Discovery & Action Dialogue Self-Discovering Solutions To Big Challenges Hidden Right Before Your Eyes [60 -90] Theme: effective meetings or… [] Min Specs/Simple Rules Unleashing Innovation & Action by Specifying only “Must-do’s” & “Must-not-do’s” [30] Start with why, why… to clarify purpose, then sift activities. Theme to be selected… [] Smart Networks [] Mad Tea Party Paired Self-Reflection in Fast Cycles [20] in Spanish, English, Swedish, and Portuguese. Use when energy gets low. [] Lunch Together and Closing Optional “improv” activities & simulations: Flocking CAS Webbing or Co. Ps Leader/Follower F L O W Blocking/Accepting Offers Weaving Social Connections and Informal Networks To Develop & Advance Practice [20] draw personal maps by hand, review Smart. Maps, then Webbing: who do you go to for expertise… inspiration… permission? . . . ~ ~ ~ [] Lunch [] Work-In-Progress Group Consultation One-to-One Coaching Sessions as requested Post Workshop design debrief Tapping the “Wisdom of Crowds” To Solve Problems Together [60] recruit 2 nd storyteller, focus on consulting skills [] Chunking, User Research, Prototyping Tapping Tacit and Latent Knowledge in Seriously-Playful Rapid Cycles [80] Improv theme: difficult conversation with key client or peer [] Design Party Debrief Sessions Reflecting on Your Design-In-Progress and Making Adjustments -As-You-Go [20] [] Social Time and Dinner Together Day IV and V Workshop Objectives ~ Experience how Liberating Structures transform interactions with your peers, students, patients ~ Begin preparing next steps for ongoing use in everyday practice with customers, peers, and suppliers ~ Discover how Liberating Structures are congruent with the emerging sciences of complex and/or biological systems

Learning Approach • Experiential learning with a minimal amount of “telling” and a maximum Learning Approach • Experiential learning with a minimal amount of “telling” and a maximum of self-discovery • Methods are introduced and woven into interactions around key challenges selected by participants • We draw out and build on the direct experience of everyone in the room • Goal: Everyone walks out thinking, “I can do this myself!” • We search for the minimum structure to liberate the maximum innovation

Power in Combining Elements! Immersion in a large # of simple self-organizing methods A Power in Combining Elements! Immersion in a large # of simple self-organizing methods A mix of top, middle & front line participants (+ customers) Focus on complex challenges that require diverse participation to make progress Invitation to try many simple methods to your challenges immediately One on one coaching to launch immediate use in local context Rapid cycles jointly shaping solutions & insights in-the-moment

Why So Many, So Fast? • Every person is likely to find two or Why So Many, So Fast? • Every person is likely to find two or three LS they like and want to start using. (A few people will find many) • LS are modular. They can be mashed-up and spur new inventions very quickly. • Participants see patterns across the LS and gain confidence with experience. • Quickly using them demonstrates LS are forgiving. You can get great results without tight fidelity. • Rapid cycles show that ideas/answers come from many sources and levels, not all from the top.

Results Liberating Structures help groups liberate energy, tap into collective intelligence, be creatively adaptable, Results Liberating Structures help groups liberate energy, tap into collective intelligence, be creatively adaptable, and build on each other's ideas to get results. “After several other conference sessions with one or two individuals dominating the talk and focusing on their issues only we were able to accomplish much more in a day, than in the previous two days prior. ” - Division Chief, US Army Cadet Command

Bias for Action The process designs come from theories and principles about self-organization, diffusion Bias for Action The process designs come from theories and principles about self-organization, diffusion of innovation, and change. “I didn’t think we were going to be able to pull together so many different departments that had not been at the same meeting before without spending hours making presentations to explain what we were all doing. I was amazed that we just got right to work! By the end of the day we were on the same page and had a way forward on things it would have taken us weeks of meetings to accomplish. ” - Program Manager, DC Office of the State Superintendant of Education

Liberating Structures Defined NO YES • Best practices imported • Self-discovery in groups • Liberating Structures Defined NO YES • Best practices imported • Self-discovery in groups • Top-down, outside-in • Down-up, inside-out • Deficit based “What’s wrong here? ” • Asset based “What’s right here? ” • Simple methods for mundane & sublime challenges • Personal development within a complex social milieu • Attracting and inviting ownership + unleashing the wisdom of diverse crowds • • • Technical, analytic “expert” training “Mountain-top” personal development Buy-in and alignment strategies to overcome resistance in subgroups

Liberating Structures Big Change through Small Interventions Lisa Kimball lisa@plexusinstitute. org www. plexusinstitute. org Liberating Structures Big Change through Small Interventions Lisa Kimball [email protected] org www. plexusinstitute. org