Year in review
2019 was the second year of LS London. We’ve had a lot of fun exploring and playing with the LS community. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve done:
For our first meetup of the year, Nikki Wilson took us through a personal reflection and evaluation using Ecocycle planning.
Kicking off the new year and our 1st anniversary meetup with some new year reflections using ecocycle planning and peer-to-peer coaching with troika. Thanks @NiksClicks for the great theme, with Rook, @dgheath21 and @Nataliesalmon6 pic.twitter.com/bvs9YaJHdU— Liberating Structures London (@LibStructLDN) January 22, 2019
We followed with some peer-to-peer coaching using Troika consulting.
Around the community, the UK Government’s “Transforming Together” community published it’s 7 Lenses maturity matrix, and recommended use of Liberating Structures in maturity assessment workshops.
Arif Bobat, a graduate of the November 2018 2-day LS immersion workshop, ran a very well received workshop on change for an internal community at his organisation, based on LS.
Kathleen and David had fun introducing journalists and data hackers to Liberating Structures at the Hacks/Hackers meetup.
In February we explored the world of OKRs and how they relate to Liberating Structures.
Peter Kappus introduced us to OKRs:
“Check in on progress regularly—use ‘confidence’ as the metric to have rich, sometimes difficult, but always productive retrospectives or performance reviews.”@peterkappus talking #OKR’s at @LibStructLDN #LiberatingStructures pic.twitter.com/7VcsJt5ED6— Alex Blanes (@daftmonk) February 26, 2019
We then ran a shift-and-share where four different practitioners gave stories and shared their perspectives and experiences on applying OKRs and other methods for organisational alignment and evaluation.
We concluded the meetup by exploring wicked questions, a way to explore paradox in a constructive way.
Around the community, Alexis Pala of YLab Wales published an article in Apolitical about how Liberating Structures help organisations avoid groupthink and tap into collective intelligence, and also started the Cardiff LS meetup which has been going strong since then!
Our march meetup explored Improv Prototyping, a fun way to rehearse and refine interpersonal interactions. See the twitter thread for some reflections:
A few scenes pic.twitter.com/ikE73aSOPQ— Liberating Structures London (@LibStructLDN) March 26, 2019
March was also the occasion of the first ever LS Global Gathering, which took place in Seattle. Kathleen blogged about it here:
The surprising power of working together to achieve more than any of us could alone. How the #LiberatingStructures Global Gathering catalysed collaboration, before, during and after the event. #LSGG2019 🗣️ Questions? Ask mehttps://t.co/wk717jL1U0https://t.co/wk717jL1U0— LiLi Kathleen Bright (@gobrightly) March 23, 2019
April’s meetup was hosted by Katie Taylor at the Wellcome Trust.
Great to be at Wellcome trust this evening hosted by the wonderful @katieminatie, exploring the paradoxes of openness and transparency using wicked questions #LiberatingStructures pic.twitter.com/Le2Yb3WHGe— Liberating Structures London (@LibStructLDN) April 30, 2019
We explored the paradoxes of openness and transparency using wicked questions.
In May we hosted our first “home grown” two day immersion workshop, organised by members of London Liberating Structures community in partnership with Happy Ltd:
Our May meetup was also hosted by Happy, where explored how we can create happy workplaces:
In June we were in a lovely space at Cloudflare on the South Bank. We decided to explore purpose-to-practice a structure which is also a string of structures and invitations.
We ran out of time to complete the full five elements, but managed to make some good progress on Purpose and Principles:
Purpose - This meetup exists in order to:
- Gain access to diverse perspective and support diverse work
- Practice in safe spaces
- Learning by doing
- Build honesty
- Improve oneself
- Expand this way of thinking
- Try new things
- Include everyone, new people welcomed
- Promote the greater good / free / spirit of generosity
- Share experiences & knowledge. Everyone benefits
- Participate / Giving. Interact. Learn. Reflect.
- Build confidence
Principles - we will do this by
- Listen to others
- Learn through doing
- Turn up
- Be reflective???
Around the wider LS community, Zoe Lord and her colleagues started off a new Midlands LS user group:
Our new Midlands #LiberatingStructures user group! We’re a new group in the midlands with a health & care focus. Let us know if you’d like to be involved! Next meet up Friday 5th July 3pm online. pic.twitter.com/IGjD3kH4Nt— Zoë Lord (@ZoeLord1) June 28, 2019
It was also really great to see Chris Smith using LS for a large-scale company retrospective:
Enjoyed running a 2019 H1 #retrospective for all our @RedgateProdDev Product Development teams this morning! Finally got chance to use some #liberatingstructures with a large group and got some fantastic insights on where we should look to improve! pic.twitter.com/5Qs0uoJnNW— Chris Smith (@cj_smithy) June 26, 2019
Enjoyed my first @LibStructLDN at Potatoe. We did 'Drawing Together' and 'Discovery & Action Dialogue.' Also a useful group coaching process about burnout. #OrgHacking @gobrightly pic.twitter.com/T4lTBrO0mH— designing services (@incluservice) July 30, 2019
Around the network, the Scotland user group held another meetup:
August - Social network webbing
We had fun exploring Social network webbing this evening. A few takeaways:- visualising our network helps us to think about it in a different way. Making it tangible makes it possible for multiple people to collaborate. (1/n) pic.twitter.com/kjwPgJJw4c— Liberating Structures London (@LibStructLDN) August 27, 2019
A few takeaways:
- visualising our network helps us to think about it in a different way.
- Making it tangible makes it possible for multiple people to collaborate.
- Patterns and connections are revealed which would otherwise be hard to identify.
- One person described how a conversation is “one dimensional” whereas the visualisation makes it two dimensional.
- At the same time we felt that the conversations and discussions as the network map was developed are more important than the final artefact.
Ideas for possible application include helping to spread ideas and good practice through and organisation and business development.
Focusing on “weak” connections and gaps in the network can help grow diversity.
European learning gathering
Some of us also attended the Liberating Structures European Learning Gathering in Hamburg. Kathleen wrote another awesome blog post about what they learned. Check the #LSELG hashtag for more highlights.
We explored building LS strings using the LS match maker:
Learnt to select structures for various purposes using Matchmaker https://t.co/3nKiGNONUM and string them together @LibStructLDN today. A moving theme on the value of enabling human connection emerged through the evening. pic.twitter.com/Fc1QHpbLjO— designing services (@incluservice) September 24, 2019
A very fruitful pub conversation led us to discover Paul Tolchinsky, a leading thinker in the world of Organisation Design.
Bristol Reinventing Work network ran an LS Lab
October - Service design
Explored Improv Prototyping @LibStructLDN yesterday, as an idea generating method for service design. Learnt loads having fun - way to go. A string of Fishbowl, 1-2-All, and Improv Proto made for a rich learning together experience. pic.twitter.com/9m8xHLk4OD— designing services (@incluservice) October 23, 2019
We started with a UX Fishbowl where service design practitioners explained a bit about the ideas and principles of service design.
Then we played with Improv prototyping to see how they might be used to prototype services. Hilarity ensued as people put on their best acting voice to play the role of an elevator, email message or street map!
Joe Badman wrote up a really nice blog post.
Fantastic first day of immersion into #LiberatingStructures at @happyltd. We dug deep into how we can unleash ourselves and others through intentionally designing the microstructures of our daily interactions. Now for digestion, decomposition, reflection and another day tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/Fp0hsrOF1u— Liberating Structures London (@LibStructLDN) October 29, 2019
Paul Brennan of Cardiff University joined the design team for the workshop and blogged about his learnings.
Workshop participant John Burgoyne from the Centre for Public impact also blogged his reflections.
November - Critical uncertainties
Another new structure to us, Critical Uncertainties helps individuals or groups build robust and resilient plans for an uncertain future.
Having reviewed all that’s happened this year, we’ve covered a huge amount. The network of Liberating Structures practitioners and users in the UK and around the world has grown.
For 2020 we’d like to continue to support and grow the community of LS practitioners. We always love to hear from you about what’s going well in your practice or what questions you have. Please drop us an email with your thoughts, suggestions or questions.
We also always need more help with running the meetup. Here are some examples of things that we need:
- planning events, get involved with the design process
- writing for the website
- writing emails, twitter and other social media channels
- organising logistics for events
- finding and confirming venues
If you’d like to get involved please drop us an email!