Safely Taking More Risks with Liberating Structures

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520 Pike St # 2000 · Seattle, WA

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Garage attached to 520 Pike Building. Elevators should run until 7:30 PM.

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Safely Taking More Risks with Liberating Structures

Abstract: Unwittingly, the conventional structures used to organize how people routinely work together stifle inclusion, engagement, and risk-taking. Conventional structures are either too inhibiting (presentations, status reports and managed discussions) or too loose and disorganized (open discussions and brainstorms) to creatively engage people in shaping their own future. They frequently generate feelings of frustration and/or exclusion and fail to provide space for risk-taking or good ideas to emerge and germinate. This means that huge amounts of time and money are spent working the wrong way. More time and money are then spent trying to fix the unintended consequences.

Liberating Structures offer an alternative way to approach and design how people work together. A menu ( of thirty-three Liberating Structures can replace or complement conventional practices. This approach is both practical and feasible because Liberating Structures are quite simple and easy to learn. They can be used by everyone at every level, from the executive suite to the grassroots. No lengthy training courses or special talents are required. Mastery is simply a matter of practice. LS routinely unleash a vast reserve of contributions and latent innovations waiting to be discovered.

Bio: Keith McCandless, Co-founder of the Social Invention Group, Co-developer of Liberating Structures, Co-author “The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures – Simple Rules to Unleash a Culture of Innovation”, Former Plexus Institute board member and scientific advisor.

I help people in organizations innovate and manage complexity by working with groups to unleash creativity, discover opportunities, and build on momentum.

I am a founding partner of the Social Invention Group since 2000, and my eclectic skills are grounded in organization development, complexity science, business strategy, and graphic facilitation—all with an improvisational twist.

Born in Cincinnati Ohio, he holds a Masters in Management of Human Services from Brandeis University in Boston and a BA from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Keith lives in Seattle with his wife, Anne, and Deacon, a whippet with talent to amuse.


• 6:30PM Food and Social Time, hosted by Marchex

• 7:00PM Main Program

• Thank-yous

• Announcements (jobs offered, jobs sought, upcoming Agile events)

• Presentation on Liberating Structures

• 8:15PM Retrospective

• 8:30PM End Meeting