Liberating Structures Online

I was bummed to miss the September Liberating Structures Seattle User Group meeting as it was about using LS online.  (If you don’t know what LS is, click that first link!)

I am passionately interested in this. Today, I had a chance to see the notes and a “minimum specs” document in the works and was VERY HAPPY. (I uploaded it to GoogleDrive so we can all play with it together! I hope that is OK with Keith McCandless, Jim Best, Alex Dunne and Fisher Qua. Guys, ok?

I first want to share the notes. I’m adding my comments in bold.

User Group members got a good start on Min Specs for bringing virtual meetings back to life.

1. Distributing information must not be the purpose of convening a virtual meeting. Firmly invite participants read the material in advance–no ifs, ands, or buts.  Stop the madness of long-boring-stifling-ineffective PPT presentations. AMEN. True online and offline, but I think even more toxic online. People multitask themselves into oblivion. This is also one of the challenging points to convey to “meeting” sponsors. So thinking more about how to engage positively and proactively on this set up issue is on my mind.

2. Asking questions that invite participants to explore a shared challenge must be part of the virtual meeting purpose.  For example, if the topic is “what can we do about poor employee engagement scores?,” a set of productive questions could include:  How do you know when people are not engaged?  What do you do to maintain your own focus?  How do you help others do the same?  What makes it difficult to maintain a positive and engaged attitude? Do you know anyone or any group who is able to maintain high engagement consistently or effortlessly?  How??  Are any good ideas coming to mind? Any 15% Solutions?  What first steps could we take together? [Adapted from Discovery and Action Dialogue]  This set of questions sparks both self-discovery and action to move forward together.  Ahhhhh.  For me this is true online and offline. So the online elements are how people respond (voice, text, group size — i.e. 1-2.4-all) and what type of design and facilitation enables coherence if we cross different communication forms. Some people type. Some need to talk, etc. 

3. Contributing ideas must be very simple and safe for every participant.  More coming… This builds on my last note from an operational perspective. I also think that sometimes the anonymity or semi-anonymity of the online space can actually make it “safer” than F2F.

via Liberating Structures – User Group Startup.

I keep waffling between the approach – find and adapt a tool and grow from there the practices, or use whatever is at hand and adapt the practices. The practical me says the latter. What do you think? (See more of our collective thinking here and here.)

L

P.S. I know, it has been a LONG time since I blogged. Longest gap ever. And this is a fast post, but I figured better fast than never!

Puddle Jumping @ the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Conference

DSC_0013~2Well, it is on the schedule for tomorrow morning, so I had better be ready for my keynote at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Conference. This is a placeholder blog where I’ll post the talk artifacts (song lyrics, visuals, and whatever else we create) and resources. The resources below are placeholder for now, so stand by until tomorrow night! I’m talking without slides, with uke and probably (as usual) trying to pack too much in. But hey, if you aren’t learning, why do a keynote, right? Wish me luck

Resources

Related and Interesting Stuff

My Harvest from a Half Day at Seattle #Kaizencamp

Thanks to a serendipitous conversation with friends im Benson (@ourfounder), Tonianne DeMaria Barry (@sprezzatura), I was able to pop in for 1/4 of the Seattle #KaizenCamp. If I were pitching a Hollywood script, I’d say “Open Space” meets “Lean Coffee” meets “Liberating Structures.” A group of smart, engaged people conversing about ways of working in a lovely place (The Foundry) with good food and coffee.

I sat at two rounds of “lean coffee,” one about Storytelling and the Arts, and one about Knowledge Sharing. I made a couple of sketch notes and captured some of the resources and I wanted to get them up and out, tagged and tweeted, before I rushed on to the next thing. (Rushing— sucks!) So here we go…

Storytelling and the Arts

KaizenCampArtStorytelling

 

URLs/Resources Shared:

 

Knowledge Sharing

KaizenCampKnowledgeSharing

 

URLs/Resources:

 

Liberating Structures for Knowledge Sharing

Last Friday I was lucky to be the Mid Atlantic Facilitator’s Network February speaker. Of course, instead of talking about something I was totally comfortable with, I decided to explore the application of Liberating Structures to knowledge sharing, AND to explore the use of the structures in an online “webinar” environment. Nothing like jumping off the bridge. But the water was wonderful. I owe a lot to the hosting team (thanks Dana and Fran), the daring participants who were willing to push their use of Adobe Connect a bit further than normal, and the support of the wider LS community of users.

Here are the cleaned up slides. I included cleaned up versions of the chat transcripts in the respective “harvest” slides (which started out blank).

We are building a nice bunch of people who want to experiment more with Liberating Structures online. If you are interested, check out our LinkedIn group and join us!

via Liberating Structures for Knowledge Sharing.

Group Patterns & Processes Online

groupworksThere is something in the air! All the interesting facilitation and process stuff emerging like Groupworks Deck and Liberating Structures are prompting people involved with them from a face to face perspective to begin considering them in online and distributed contexts. At the Liberating Structures workshop in Seattle last week, a Open Space breakout group resolved to explore more and we’ve started a Google Group (leave a comment or email me to join). Now Tim Bonnemann is getting a group activated around the Groupworks Deck pattern language. Here is his offer!

Group Patterns: How Do They Apply to Virtual Environments?.

 I’ve mentioned the Group Works project before, a multi-year effort to explore and document the “deeper core of what brings a group conversation alive”…

One of my main interests in this area from the very beginning has been the question if and to what extent these kinds of underlying principles, building blocks or patterns might apply to online or virtual environments.

Some patterns should translate fairly easily, for example:

  • Closing: The formal ritual that concludes the collective time and space by completing the cycle of a group process. Include everyone, acknowledge the end of the time together and mark the transition point, ushering in a shift to what follows.

  • Mirroring: Empathically reflect back the essence of what someone has said so the speaker feels heard, genuinely acknowledged and appreciated. Honouring people’s gifts can heal individuals and relationships, unblock stuck places, and get energy flowing again.

  • Yes, and: Build on what someone just said to offer encouragement and carry it further. Affirm their ideas, then extend them to a deeper understanding or add a new twist. Create momentum by saying “Yes, and . . .”

Others, maybe not so easily:

  • Circle: A Circle is a safe, solid, yet permeable space with an inside, an outside, and a focus that moves from person to person. A welcoming form where everyone can see each other and all voices are heard, it creates a field that invites sharing and story.

  • Holding Space: Be fully present, aware of what’s happening in the whole gathering right now–physically, energetically, emotionally, and intellectually. Open and hold the psychological and spiritual space to provide a steady centre and container. Calmly maintain trust, safety, and focus.

  • Silence:  The rests between notes make the music. Take a quiet moment to tune into yourself or the group. Invite Silence to slow the process, make space for questions, transition, or simply deepen.

Over the next few months, I’d like to spend some time exploring. If you share the same interest and would like to get involved, please let me know, and we’ll take it from there.

A lot of fun thinking and learning… are you ready to join in?