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The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash A Culture of Innovation
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The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash A Culture of Innovation

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Smart leaders know that they would greatly increase productivity and innovation if only they could get everyone fully engaged. So do professors, facilitators and all changemakers. The challenge is how. Liberating Structures are novel, practical and no-nonsense methods to help you accomplish this goal with groups of any size.

Prepare to be surprised by how simple and easy
Paperback, 366 pages
Published February 19th 2014 by Liberating Structures Press
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Francia Stevens
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you are still working, this is a book you must have. If you are retired and working on volunteer committees, you simply must read it. If you have a family, you can't live without it. It is a book to be bought, kept, and frequently referred to. It is filled with ideas, each one better than the last, on how to increase creativity, productivity, smart problem solving, cooperation and collaboration. It is, in a word, fantastic!
Tim Coil
Amazing structures but too much fluff

The ideas in the book are great and part 4 is amazing, however I believe it could have been condensed to make a better read
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: od
The short, straightforward facilitation tools provided in Liberating Structures are great ways of generating ideas, building connections, and learning from groups, empowering them through involvement. After reading the full set, I began to see that they'd been showing up in some of my company's team development activities all along -- to great impact.

I wish they had more tips for facilitating the decision-making process once some of the ideas are raised (they have a few structures for this but
Estera Mihăilă
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Teaches you how to improve your team-work starting right after you've put it down.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Took me forever to finish.

If you want to learn about Liberating Structures I strongly suggest you go to their website which content is to be found in the book for the most part, as its authors gracefully gave the content Creative Common licence.

Some of the formats will result in more engaging meetings, at least that's what I've seen in my experience. It is also true that more complex or elaborated structures can take up to 2-3 hours and the result to be less than what it is promised. All in all,
Frank Calberg
Takeaways from reading the book:

Structural elements that can be used to include people
- Page 14: Invitation.
- Page 14: How space is arranged and what materials are used. Examples: Tables, chairs, projectors, flipcharts, whiteboards.
- Page 14: How much time every participant will be given to contribute.
- Page 14: The degree of freedom that exists to change group composition, for example break up into smaller groups.
- Page 14: Purpose of each step and time allocated to each step.

Questions to start
José Tavares
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
The first chapter of the book are a bit repetitive and in the tone of "this is a silver bullet that will fix all your problems", but if you can go through it and jump to the description of the Liberating Structures, they really provide helpful insight and you will finish with some experimentation in mind.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: agile
I can immediately put most of the Liberating Structures into practice in my line of work. They are exhaustively described in part four of the book.

The other three parts, however, make up the first half of the book and can be skipped. Seriously. Flip through them if you must, but then focus on the second half of the book.
Łukasz Lichota
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good and inspiring concept and that changed my expectations as to what should be normal or not in groupwork.
Part of the book is manual so it's not cover to cover read for everyone. The manual part of each structure is available on their website so main benefit of reading the book is better buy-in into the idea.
Nina Simon
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A powerful, useful, inspiring pattern library with very strong foundation underneath. Not a five because:
- it’s a little salesy
- the examples are weak: limited in scope, overly rah rah, and almost all from white professionals
- the organization of the tools themselves is terrible - it’s unreasonably hard to go from the menu to the particular tools you want to explore
Alexander Teibrich
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really love the content! These microstructures are perfect to transform any workplace and the material is very well fitted to get started in facilitating better meetings and conversations.

What I did not like, is the narrative style: some passages seemed repetitive to me and I wasn’t really pulled into and excited by the presentation of the content.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is fine - nothing exceptional. However, the methods themselves are fantastic, and I've had huge success with them at my organization. They are clearly written, thoughtfully designed, and easily adaptable when the situation demands it.
Andreea Visanoiu
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liberating Structures are great

By the book was really hard to read, quite technical and not engaging.

Nevertheless, worth reading and the LS are a great facilitation tool, so if you’re facilitating teams (managers, leaders, coaches), you must know these methods.
Sarah Carr
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's an amazing resource for facilitators, providing many activities to get groups, both large and small, engaged in useful, inclusive conversations.
Matthew J
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useful, but I prefer the Liberating Structures app or website to the physical book.
Hans Schoolenberg
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: management
I like the concept of liberating structures. I think the book is more a sales brochure than an essay about ls. A lot of useless texts.
Richard Kalmeijer
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Introduction is a bit long. The exercises are very powerful. I put quite some into practice and it really does what it says it does!
Tadhg Maccarthy
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: work-related, adapt
Great ideas. Poor format.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The structures are helpful to guide conversations, but the format of the book is a little awkward. The actually useful stuff is more than halfway in.
Rebecca Stevenson
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: day-job
If your life involves facilitating groups trying to solve problems, to work together, to communicate -- read this book. Use this book.

This is AMAZING.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a goldmine to revitalize broken and misused modes of communicating collaboratively with any group of people. I'm thinking of all the great applications for global understanding in cross-cultural environments.

A note of instruction on how to read the book. Start with Part 4, the field guide, on P. 163. Work backward as needed from there. Disregard the first 5 apologetic chapters entirely.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an inspiring, engaging and thoughtful book and action plan to enliven any meeting, learning activity, retreat, symposium, change event, etc. that you may do or organize. I've begun to try the activities and experiment with the techniques, and am seeing enjoyment and engagement in my workplace increase!
Frederic Vandaele
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Liberating structures are Amazing! Reading the book is powered up by consulting the web site in parallel and experimenting LS with friends & colleagues.

Just want to start right now? Try the 1-2-4-All
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
awesome book. even simple things applied in real life significantly increase engagement of any group
Susan Wood
Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: academic
I love these guys and use Liberating Structures a lot in my work. Did not love the book, however.
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Marcelo Menezes
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Charlie Hogstad
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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves.” Tolstoy” 0 likes
“The importance of self-discovery and cocreation doesn’t stop with purpose. They are just as essential for making sense of challenges and for developing solutions that are likely to be adopted, adaptable, and successful. What is standard in most organizations is importing best practices or imposing practices from above. The assumption that a best practice will work everywhere is just too convenient to resist. So is the assumption that local context and people, though important, will not matter enough to make the difference. Plus, best practices fit nicely with the deep-seated notion that reinventing the wheel is a waste of time and money. Unfortunately, importing or imposing best practices usually involves trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Context, culture, and people do matter more than we like to admit, and resistance inevitably emerges when we discount them.” 0 likes
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