He realised that Liberating Structures is about getting deep,
fast and as they’re easy to use - they don’t need a lot of
facilitation experience. Liberating Structures is an open
source movement so one can make a business out of it as long as the
creators are credited.
He never used purely Liberating Structures but began planting
them into his process design and then he got an opportunity to be a
trainer on an Immersion Workshop which took his involvement to
Nikki asks Ewen about his observations in the Immersion
Workshop of others experiencing Liberating Structures for the first
time. It confirmed for him that others could see the depth
and complexity quickly. He also observed that despite
seeming “harmless” in fact you are confronting the group with deep
questions that are sometimes uncomfortable.
He began to see the impact of some of the design
choices. For example the high pace of Liberating Structures
is to encourage “quick draft”, agile thinking. If the
structure hasn’t given enough the first time, then it’s repeated
rather than extending the time as repetition is seen as another
form of change.
He noticed that when workshop participants began to consider
their own contexts they could see lots of applications, including
in personal life.
Nikki asks how using Liberating Structures has changed the way
Ewen views the facilitator’s role. He sees them as a way of giving
a role to everyone. While he sees the value of a central
facilitator in complex environments, the long game is not to have
an external facilitator, but to allow people to find solutions for
He works a lot around "process literacy", giving people some
tools to be able to harness the power of the process and connect
their energy to that of others. He considers Liberating
Structures to be “process literacy in a box” allowing everyone to
be part of the solution and also be a facilitator. If a whole
group is familiar with Liberating Structures he sees that they can
create their own collaboration processes without the need for an
He then describes the opportunity to “string”, “nest” and
“merge” Liberating Structures which means that while the
repertoire is quite small, the possibilities are
Ewen has been exploring some of the lesser used Liberating
Structures and would like to contribute more to the global LS
community on Slack. He’d like to use Liberating Structures in
France, his home country where he hasn’t worked very much. He
sees there’s potential as the national culture is not collaborative
and he feels that Liberating Structures is a natural repertoire to
encourage it, particularly as one of the creators is French.
He’s also working with established partners on Immersion
Workshops, and they’ve decided they will begin to offer both a
standardised workshop and some more creative immersion experiences.
He’s also thinking about how to use the “Critical Uncertainties”
structure to look at his consultancy business.
as a good starting point, and he knows that there is an
established community in the UK that listeners could contact and
give them a try. He suggests reading and trying structures,
starting with something like 1-2-4-All
. As with a lot of facilitation it’s about
giving it a try with a playful, curious and open mind.
You can also use the LS community on Slack. http://bit.ly/lscommunityslack
(Let them know you heard about it here!)
And of course, you can get in touch with Ewen through: