Liberating Structures Events in December 2019

Session: Long Term Strategy is Dead (?!) – Adapting Planning to a Complex World!

Date: December 7, 2019

Facilitator: Catarina Moreno

Time: 10am-2pm, coffee courtesy of Vantage Point but please bring your own lunch

Location: Vantage Point Training Room, 1183 Melville St, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A3

Cost: This is a free event.

Registration: The participant cap is 15 to allow for group work, the spots will be given on a first come first serve basis. Please reserve your spot or ask further questions by emailing cmlists123@gmail.com.

Description: Let’s explore and share a community or practice learning session on the emerging practice of Strategic Knotworking. Knotworking is both a set of Liberating Structures “strung” together to support strategic planning, and it provides a set of principles and opens a new way to work in complex contexts. It helps us to understand why we feel comfortable or uncomfortable with situations or decisions. As a basis for working agreements, it supports day to day decision making and as a practice it establishes a deeper understanding of the Liberating Structure, Ecocycle. We plan to work on a real project. If you have a project you would like to offer to the workshop let Catarina know. Participants are expected to have a basic knowledge and practice of Liberating Structures. There might be an informal social gathering after the session if there is interest and energy. This is not a training but rather a peer-learning session structured around experience, debrief, connections and deconstruction.

About the community of practice host of the dayCatarina has 15+ years of experience in managing people, programs and projects and is passionate about finding better ways to work together. She believes in the power of collaboration and capacity-building and is specifically interested in organizational culture and the opportunities inherent in change.


Session: How to Facilitate Structured Engagement to Unleash Everyone

Date: December 10th, 2019

Facilitator:  Barish Golland & Zsuzsi Fodor

Time: 2:45pm-4pm

Location: UBC, Irving K Barber Learning Centre, Chilcotin Room 256

Cost: Free

Registration: Required at https://events.ctlt.ubc.ca/events/how-to-facilitate-structured-engagement-to-unleash-everyone/

Description: Often in PowerPoint driven meetings, lessons, lectures and gatherings, there comes a point when eyes glaze over, heads turn down to phones/laptops, and disengagement starts to creep in. Have you ever experienced that, or been one of those attendees bored to tears by constant sitting and passive listening?

In this workshop we’ll explore the amazing facilitation world of Liberating Structures, “a collection of simple, inclusive and fun interaction templates designed to facilitate generative engagement”. You’ll engage hands-on facilitation activities designed to be easily replicated in your context whether you run big lectures, small seminars/tutorials, staff meetings, community events, and so on!

Prepare to move around, get out of your comfort zone and be fully present!   


Liberating Structures User Groups Meet Online

This post originally published May 9th on BCcampus.ca

Recently, the Liberating Structures (LS) user groups from Vancouver and Victoria B.C. got together ONLINE for the first time to experiment with LS online. As always, I love co-facilitating with my Victoria LS User Group partner, Beth Cougler Blom, and higher ed colleagues and Vancouver LS User group stewards Leva Lee and Barish Golland.

Post by Tracy Roberts, Senior Manager, Learning and Teaching

Liberating Structures

Our plan (see here for plan/details about HOW we did stuff, and here for slides) was to do Impromptu NetworkingTroikaUser Experience Fishbowl, and a bit of a share out from those of us who went to the LS Global Gathering in March. In 90 min, we ran out of time to do all, so we cut User Experience Fishbowl.

A few quick observations/takeaways:

  • …Sigh…audio in particular, but technology generally continues to vex the online session. Having worked for 20 years in a field that does a LOT of online meetings, it annoys me that web conferencing technology still doesn’t just actually work. So yes, we still have to plan for it NOT to work: get people to show up early, create space to test audio, video, and drawing tools so people are ready to engage, have multiple facilitators to support all this.
  • Have the invitation/discussion prompts visible at all times (slides, chat room, wherever works for the tool you are using).
  • With Troika, we experimented with offering more/less structure and our participants preferred more, i.e., time each step using the timer tool + add text prompts to the timer to tell them what step they are on (vs. just giving them the full 8 minutes and adding a text chat to all telling them what step they should be on).
  • Online CAN be better than f2f – e.g., you can quickly and completely control the return of small groups back to the main group! Online, it’s a click of a button and a few seconds and everyone is BACK, regardless if they were in the middle of a sentence. Not always so in-person!
  • More is more. You need a facilitator, and 1-2 others to manage the technology (set timers, create breakout rooms, move people in and out of breakout rooms, monitor the chat, pop in and out of breakout rooms and generally troubleshoot on the fly). It’s important to be fast and available because with LS in play online, things are moving and, online, I think our patience can be thinner because it’s easier to feel MORE lost and frustrated than in a physical room where there are many more cues to help figure things out.

Learn more:

Join us for an upcoming Liberating Structures Workshop to discover how you can bring these effective strategies to the sessions you lead.


Vancouver Liberating Structures: Growing our Group

It’s been a busy September and October! Though we tried valiantly to round up our group for our first face-to-face meet-up of the year, it seems the scheduling, our busyness, or downtown Vancouver location isn’t working for people.

Post by Leva Lee, Manager, Learning and Teaching

We are now thinking about ways to increase the group’s visibility and participation —to grow our user group so we can draw more robust numbers for our practice sessions. We’ve emailed the list of people who attended BCcampus LS workshops and we’ve promoted in blog posts, posted to the LinkedIn group, and are listed on the Liberating Structures website. We’ve invited people to join us the Liberating Structures Slack Group (Seattle-based). I’m wondering…what else could we be doing?

Barish, Cathy Griffen and I, brainstormed a few additional ideas for growing membership of our user group:

  • Ask for help to spread the word about local practice groups to members and get them to invite a friend;
  • Regionalize meetups by rotating them to different locations every month. Different members can take a turn “hosting” and have the event close to their campus, or other workplaces and potentially bring in new participants locally, as well as their colleagues;
  • Target different workplaces/industries with information sessions or a mini-workshop with people in roles that could use Liberating Structures;
  • Offer more regularly scheduled virtual meetups;
  • Convene one large practice group specifically targeted to practice and documenting ways Liberating Structures can be used for teaching and learning. Suggestion: This is done annually as one day, like an immersion but for the purpose of a sprint of LS applications for teaching and learning.

What suggestions or ideas do you have? If you’ve taken a Liberating Structures workshop with BCcampus and haven’t completed the survey yet, please provide us with some feedback. We are surveying past workshop participants until November 6th and will share the results: BCcampus LS Survey

Alternatively, if you have suggestions for our user group and want to contact us directly, please send a note to me or Barish.

The next meeting of the Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group will be held as an online meetup on Monday, October 30th from 7 –8:30 pm using Zoom. (We’ll post details on our LinkedIn User group.)

The theme of the agenda will be devoted to discussing ideas for our user group meetings and next steps, with some practice on using Liberating Structures online.

Learn more: