Liberating Structures: Innovative Processes for Reflecting, Relating, Doing

Monday, 18 November 2013: 3:55 PM

Sharon Sims, PhD, FAANP, ANEF
Family Health, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN

Relationships in groups are always complex—yet working effectively with others is crucial to a practice that advances the art and science of nursing and expands leadership capacity.  Nurses have applied various lenses to examine working in groups such as systems theory, group process models, cultural theory, and change theory, among others, to understand how they develop, manage through change, or improve processes. These traditional ways of thinking about group interaction are often challenged, extended, and expanded when new ideas emerge in our work with each other. Complexity Science offers a new approach based on a view of systems that features rapid adaptation and highly interrelated parts; it proposes that even small changes can lead to large effects. These ideas have been effectively applied to the study of organizations. We will describe and selected Liberating Structures through case study as an example of a complexity-based methodology that can create more effective ways of working together by better articulating goals, appreciating other points of view, and developing consensus for action. Liberating Structures are a continually evolving set of methods used by groups to “let go” traditional patterns of interacting to unleash the collective creativity for improvements in the organization. We will select several of these appreciative and reflective methods used in our work with student, faculty, and community-based groups, such as “What, So What, Now What? (reflect on action to move forward); TRIZ (innovate by designing adverse solutions); 1-2-4 All (rapid change reflections); Conversation Café (reaching consensus on challenges) (