23-25 oktober 2019Kockum Fritid Malmö

Prepare to be surprised! Making waves around the world, Liberating Structures (LS) productively and playfully disrupt conventional patterns in how we work together. Come engage, reengage and dive deeper into this repertoire of 33+ simple methods that change the way results are generated without expensive investments, complicated training, or shifts in formal structure.

For the first time, we are bringing a full Liberating Structures Immersion workshop to Scandinavia. There are currently practitioners spread across the region who use LS in health care, social services, agile development, city planning, academia, education, design & innovation and many more contexts. This will be an opportunity to learn alongside these pioneers and understand how LS is being applied to challenges that are complex, messy, nonlinear, and uncertain. We will roll-up-our-sleeves and dig into the repertoire of methods in a way that helps you understand the individual structures AND the underlying logic or organizing pattern that makes them generative & dynamic. Expect to get your hands dirty along the way!

    We offer a few options for how you participate

    • Day 1,2 and 3. You get the full experience and training including the more in-depth learning tracks with focus on application and practise-development of day three. 
    • Day 1 and 2. You will experience a common immersion workshop format in full! 
    • Day 3 only. You have a special interest in Agile development, Tillitsbaserad styrning/Trust based (public) management or Learning and evaluation and would like to explore how LS could be used in for these purposes. You already have experience of using Liberating structures or similar methodology with groups.

    The learning excursion will unfold in surprising ways, but the basic format you can expect includes:

    Day 1: Learning through repetition & pattern recognition.

    We will introduce the organizing DNA and anatomy of Liberating Structures in a way that helps everyone understand the logic behind them while repeating structures multiple times.  By the end of this day, you may be equally enthusiastic & confused about the surprising power of Liberating Structures!

    Day 2: Developing a versatile repertoire and preparing to practice.
    The focus this day will shift towards more elaborate uses of LS - from those that involve a bit more nuance to combining and designing with a string of LS for longer interactions.  You will be familiar enough with the fundamentals  to get started back home with integrity and fidelity to the principles & purposes of the methods.

    Day 3: Getting hands-on experience with Liberating Structures in different contexts.

    We will be joined for this session by LS pioneers from across the region. These are people who have gotten started on their own and are making tangible progress in a range of settings, situations, and scenarios. Learn from their trials, tribulations, triumphs, and tragedies localizing LS to different complex realities. We will work hands on  with real challenges brought forward by you and other participants and partners 

    While the specifics are still being clarified, there are likely to be tracks that resemble:

    • Track 1: Agile development
      Agile and LS have many similar principles and stories. We will explore how you can approach typical challenges in radical new ways - all the way from supporting self organizing teams to the landscape of scaled agile confusion.

    • Track 2: Small group practices for radical change 
      This track meets two needs often expressed by people wo work with sustainability. How do we use LS in small group interactions (7 or fewer people) where we aren't used to someone being in charge. And how could we together be radical and brave, really preparing for the challenges we are facing and the shifts that are on the way. Sustainability work, whether ecological, social or personal demands more of our teams and working groups. This session will explore and bring some concrete structures to integrate in everyday work.
    • Track 3: Liberated Strategy with a trust-based planning process
      In many organisations strategic planning practices exclude diverse voices, over-control people, and stifle ambition. How often do you find yourself struggling to develop strategies that people are willing to own and commit to? “Strategy Knotworking” offers a liberated, inclusive approach to shaping the future while creatively adapting in the moment. It is a coherent set of Liberating Structures that aims to involve and engage everyone in developing and evolving sustainable strategies on all levels of an organisation.

      The third day will start and end all together so we can integrate learnings between the tracks.

    Although its three consecutive days we have designed the Immersion so its possible to just join the first two days or just the last day.

    What you can expect from the 2+1 day learning excursion:

    • To gain enough familiarity with 15-20 different Liberating Structures that you can start to use immediately (and imaginatively) for your own purposes
    • To begin noticing the underlying structure of our interactions and how simple variations in the arrangement of those elements can deliver different results
    • To gain a better understanding of how strategies and practises better can support change when challenges are complex and messy. 
    • To feel what can happen when Liberating Structures are used to organize interactions in a community
    • To engage in seriously playful curiosity with dynamic people
    • To engage in a bit of creative destruction while in the company of supportive, encouraging, and experienced peers.
    • To discover something about yourself through the group of participants that assembles.



    Welcome to Malmö and Kockum Fritid. The venue is really a place for community. It overlocks the sea and our neighbour Copenhagen. We encourage people to come as a team and use this as an oppurtunity to build community. Having colleagues who you can lean on, tap for a design consultation, or support you when something unexpected happens is a huge benefit. We have a special configuration where you can bring up to  5 people in your organization for a flat rate.

    Please get in touch if you would like to attend but the fees makes it impossible. Our goal is to be generous. We invite you to a conversation about what could make your participation possible!

    Last day of registration 10th October. After that we offer a Late registration fee if the immersion is not yet fully booked. 


    23 Oct: 09.30 - 16.30
    24 Oct: 09.00 - 17.00
    25 Oct  09.00 - 16.00

    Transport and hotel

    The venue is at the brink of the Western harbour-area in Malmö. Local bus from Malmö central station takes you to Kockum Fritid in under 10 minutes. Malmö can be reached by train or flight to Copenhagen Airport och Malmö airport. There are a variety of hotels in town and a few nearby.   


    Food and coffe are included and a range of alternatives will be availble. 


    Anders Linse 
    email:                           Tel: +46768 800 803

    David Ershammar
    email:      Tel  +46707166089



    We have assembled a team to lead the workshop that should inspire both confidence and curiosity. Collectively, our group includes people who have been working with transformation of the mental health sector, agile coaches, modern dancers, medical device specialists, community activists, leaders of government & civic innovation & design teams, in the classroom collaborating with students to shape their own learning, social workers and software developers, sculptirs, process consultants, scrum masters and improvisational structuralists. We all spend a lot of our time supporting leaders, teams and organisation to transition into ways of working together that unleashes everybody’s potential, foster new solutions and streangthen relationships.

    We maintain a commitment to learning through practice and supporting communities to author their own experience. Our collaboration for this workshop is inspired by the mutual relationship that has been developed between us for the past 2+ years offering different learning experiences in Malmo & Copenhagen.

    Welcome to join!

    Fisher Qua (US), Anna Jackson (US), Anders Linse (SWE), David Ershammar (SWE), Elin Turesson, Jakob Sørensen (DK) and Maryanne Kmit (DK)

    Team on Liberating Structures

    Fisher Qua

    What are Liberating Structures?
    Over time, I have collected a midden pile of discarded metaphors to describe LS. While every good metaphor is productively distortional, they are also perfectly incomplete. So, instead of trying to elaborate on LS-as-a-thing , today I will describe LS as a way to deal with complexity that is lively, respectful, generative, responsive, and structured. They are imperfect little methods that try to draw out more of each person's intelligence, imagination, and creativity while at the same time combining, mutating, and smashing that together with others' in a way that often results in unexpected gains from unusual places. 

    Can you share a surprising Liberating Structures story?
    In January of this year, I had the privilege to join the Ithaca International Women's Friendship Group for an evening long session on creative aging & vitality (here are the slides). There were 25 or so of us there - with me the youngest at 35 and Natalia our eldest at 104. Or, at least that's what she claimed. She did like teasing me, so perhaps my leg remains pulled. The entire evening was a complete delight for me - I can tell because I have told everyone about that session. In particular, the closing activity stood out. We used Lynda Barry's Sensational Narratives (my new title for her method) with a positive deviance twist. Everyone composed the first two sentences of a new story about aging creatively & well. Then, in pairs, elaborated & improvised the rest of those stories. As a whole group, we then heard more of the stories. Poetry, poignancy, and playfulness abounds. I haven't been able to shake the feeling from that session that LS contributed to so much more than each person's exploration. During that time something restorative may have been happening as people remembered that they haven't forgotten to be in community with one another. 

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    Anna Jackson

    What are Liberating Structures to you?
    I think of the LS repertoire as a (lightly bound) set of interaction (or individual thinking) patterns that can be applied to the various purposes we’re pursuing in any one moment/ epoch/ interval. I also tend to think of LS as a very loosely held, shared body of evolving knowledge being stewarded by people in formal and informal ways. A network of people, that is. But... it's not at all static, like it can seem. It's all changing all the time. You're part of that if you're using LS, if you're talking to other folks using LS. There is this exploratory set of diverging and converging roads that we’re all clumsily-and-lightly traveling along, next to, across from, underneath one another.

    Can you share a surprising Liberating Structures story?
    I am constantly surprised by how the Liberating Structures principles and aesthetics--which are worth a lot more exploration--show up. The other day I was doing an immersion workshop with a group who had quite a few members who were very vocal about being uncomfortable with doing visual “stuff.” During the workshop, someone from the group volunteered to run Drawing Together (DT), in spite of knowing this sense of unease within the group AND without having any prior experience with DT. To prepare, they just reviewed it online for a few minutes over a break and went for it. And they rocked it. This little moment has spread out and now takes up some real space in my memory of the workshop, but not because of how beautifully this person ran DT (though it was very nice)--some people pick up and use LS with almost no effort. I was surprised by how willingly everyone else just did the structure, in spite of their uneasiness with the actual drawing. But here’s the thing: I think they did it because it felt like a mutually shaped, fully shared, vulnerable moment. They wanted that person to succeed, even if they had to be the tiniest bit humiliated for that to happen. And the person running DT wanted that for the other folks, too. And I just love the generosity of that. To me, the LS principles show up across that experience in some lovely ways.

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    Maryanne Kmit

    What are Liberating Structures to you?
    Liberating Structures bring us closer to each other, making it safer for everyone in groups (from a handful to 100+) to engage, contribute and co-create. LS activate individuals in group settings in safe, fun and often surprising ways, making it possible to take advantage of the diversity virtually any group possesses, so yet to be realized possibilities emerge.

    Can you share a Liberating Structures story?
    I've been surprised again and again by the success groups achieve when using Liberating Structures, for instance in a virtual group session follow-up on results of a questionnaire, using break-out rooms for impromptu networking and 1-2-(4)-all; or a co-located SAFe Inspect and Adapt workshop, using impromptu networking to break down barriers between individuals from different roles, teams and locations while at the same time allowing them to gain a deeper, common understanding of the problems they bring to the table. The co-creation, the parallel safe to fail experiments, the diversity that blossoms instead of being covered when employing LS, as well as the value brought to the group, continues to surprise me.

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    Anders Linse

    What are Liberating Structures to you?
    Many different things. It’s a participatory method that I use to facilitate teams and organizations. It’s also a great self-organizing community of passionate people who share the same interest in learning and catalyzing positive change. It’s also something annoyingly difficult to conceptualize since it has so many layers of impact in its application. Simply intriguing.

    Can you share a Liberating Structures story?
    I was asked to facilitate a new strategic leadership forum with the whole management team of 30 people in three different levels. At one meeting about “Trust based leadership” instead of talking about trust I invited them to practice it. By listening to each other and being witnessed by helping advisors using “Troika Consulting” they were able to create deeper collaborative connections. The vulnerability of accepting and expressing challenges brought them closer together in understanding.   
    A milestone in their group process.

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    Elin Turesson

    What are Liberating Structures to you?
    Liberating Structures (LS) are for me part of a bigger movement of techniques and mindsets to tap into collective intelligence, invite people as whole beings (instead of just functions) and co-create novel solutions to wicked problems. Compared to other methods LS are particularly good in day-to-day meetings with groups varying from 3-200 people. LS can insert new energy and creativity in the regular meeting as well as support the creation of new strategies, visions and ideas. It is possible to have fun and be productive at the same time!

    Can you share a short story of a time when you recently used Liberating Structures?

    In a series of workshops (children’s rights in city development) that I hosted last year I used the tool “Impromptu Networking” as a warm up, icebreaker and way to connect the participants to each other. The group was diverse with teachers, pre-school teachers, architects, officials from the city of Malmö and representatives from different NGO’s. The repeated use of Impromptu Networking and other Liberating Structures created a warm, welcoming and solution oriented culture in the group. This culture still enables good collective work and the sparking of new ideas by this network of people.

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    Jakob Sørensen

    What are Liberating Structures to you?

    Learning about Liberating Structures (LS) I thought it was merely some cool facilitating technics, and I loved them right away. Somehow I tried to progress my learning by using but found it really hard to learn by reading and not seeing it practiced. I participated in a two day Immersion Workshop. Wow, I learned. After  2 days Immersion Workshop with 120 people from all over the Europa, we practiced nearly 25 Liberating Structures - Wow. Involving and engaging everybody. I have used LS ever since and are exploring more and more depth every day. Today I understand that LS are able to change the microstructures in organizations and companies release the true powers of the wisdom of the crowds by truly deliver involvement and engagement. LS is a sudden change agent in many companies where macrostructures are hard to agree on changing.

    Can you share a short story of a time when you recently used Liberating Structures?

    Sharing new product development increments for the whole company is often done by the old lecture style. This is boring and none including. The "quiet people" are not being favored at all. Today I use Shift&share with a Rift where the presenters turn back-to-back with the group of people (watchers) talking about "What they saw and liked". Employees from all over the company organizational structure are standing face-2-face and back-to-back hearing the same stories in eye height. Everybody equal and feeing involved and engaged. The developer talking to the CFO, the director, and the caseworker all at once, sharing and hearing. This way of presenting many topics in a free self-selective way has become the new standard where I work.

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    David Ershammar

    What are Liberating Structures to you?
    LS helps us to meet more as fully beings and they gently guides us how to use the potential and tensions that does bring. In work and life, inner and outer pressure often makes it easier for us to choose control, to behave and adjust. LS will not automatically change that. But using it sincerely, it takes us to the brink, and the choice to instead choose creative destruction, serious fun and a shared journey inquiring into the future. And not the least; it is learning community committed to practise the principles of LS, like building  trust as we go, learning by failing forward and a practice of self-discovery.

    Can you share a short story of a time when you recently used Liberating Structures? 
    A group of colleagues and clients just met to learn and plan around what “trust based management” is, how it works and could mean to us. To support our creativity and focus we used up to ten different Liberating structures! This made everybody’s contribution count. As a thread throughout the day we used the “Purpose to practice”- structure that made it possible for us to harvest our learnings and we all left the session with a an individual strategy and plan for how to develop our practices to be more trust based.

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    About Liberating structures

    Some ways of describing Liberating Structures:

    • Simple social technologies that try to distribute participation more widely while drawing out greater difference and variation within groups
    • Familiar facilitation approaches that have been specified & ordered in a particular way
    • Novel patterns for organizing people to collaborate and mutually shape their work together
    • Tiny methods that make it possible to productively engage and benefit from complexity instead of flattening, ignoring, and pushing it away

    What we've seen LS making possible:

    • Teachers and educators sharing more freedom & responsibility in classroom to shape learning in partnership with one another
    • Leaders in public sector grow deeper trust between each other and with their employees solving strategic questions in new ways. 
    • Individuals gaining a different view of themselves and the inherited habits/behaviors/practices that prevent fresh approaches to their work
    • Business partners, families, and friends developing more capability to face down uncertainty with greater ease, imagination, and confidence.
    • People from diverse backgrounds in a community come together to learn, plan and act to create more inclusive solutions
    • Agile and Scrum teams immediately changing the way they do sprint planning, retrospectives, and daily stand-ups. Surprisingly positive impact in larger agile organization where communication & self organization between teams, units improve, innovation is supported and new energy flows in the big room planning sessions.
    • Scientists and research engineers finding ways to synthesize and integrate the key insights from their deep domain expertise in order to generate novel ways of making progress on entangled problems (like climate modeling)
    • Conference participants discovering longer term connections and ideas that endure over time
    • Leadership teams becoming more cohesive and able to tap into the collective intelligence of their people in a way that generates better than expected results
    • Product & innovation groups finding ways to strengthen their portfolios and act with greater strategic and tactical agility
    • Healthcare providers & systems increasing relational coordination while preventing the spread of super-bugs and other counter-productive behaviors

    More on Liberating Structures here. LS are made available through a Creative Commons License by Keith McCandless & Henri Lipmanowicz:

    Menu of 33+ Liberating Structures

    Liberating Structures background & history

    Liberating Structures FAQs

    Liberating Structures Principles

    Below: Some shots from a recent Liberating Structures Immersion Workshop in Amsterdam

    Welcome to join us for 2 or 3 days in October 2019!


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