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Introduction to Liberating Structure Design-Part 1

Updated: Apr 13

A liberating structure helps team members to feel engaged and valued making them perform their job well. Liberating structure helps build everyone's wanted organization, giving freedom to work and bringing better results as outputs.

We have discussed how liberating structure helps in improving scrum teams in easy and simple ways and also learned about liberating structure principles and strengthening this principle. But without knowing in detail what methods of liberating structure can be used in detail no one can be convinced that liberating structure works as well as we are stating. So in today's and some upcoming articles we will discuss liberating structure menu that is, their 33 official menus (design) in detail.

Liberating Structure Design


“Every work starts with an idea.” So it is necessary to have many ideas and a faster reasonable time to work on. For generating ideas it is necessary to engage participants so that they feel free that boost their creativity. To engage participants and generate suggestions, ideas, or even questions 1-2-4-All is a way to do it despite how large the group is. Liberating structure design takes only 12 minutes.

Start individually by asking a question you want an idea on then to involve pairs, to answer or generate ideas, then move towards foursome and then complete participant in groups. Provide material for writing down observations and ideas. Finally, ask each group to mark down their most stood out idea.


  • Engage everyone

  • Eliminate over-controlling or over-helping cycle

  • Create a safe space where power is diminished

  • Enrich quality and insight for observation

  • Build a shared understanding


  • In large groups limit the number of shared ideas to 3-4

  • Use a bell to notice a transition

  • Stick to the time

  • Go for a second round if not feel deep enough

  • Avoid repeating insight

Impromptu Networking

This design of liberating structure helps the scrum team in frankly speaking of participant challenges and problems at work and also builds connections with them. The time required is only 20 minutes. Here you need to ask questions to every person about their biggest challenges faced during work. Create a sub-group if a large number of members are present. Ask to pair up with persons different from themselves. Provide everyone same amount of time to share their challenges. Try to have approximately three rounds.


  • Help a shy individual to warm up

  • Attract deep engagement around problems

  • Provides a solution to problems

  • Shows little things make a big difference

  • Emphasize the power of new connections.


  • Play with questions differently

  • Use one challenge and one give-and-take question

  • Ask open-ended questions

  • Try serious play

  • Questions should be shaping the participant's direction of work.

Nine Why’s

Every action and project needs to have a clear purpose, with nine why’s a design of liberating structure you can together clear the purpose only within 20 minutes. With facing each other every group needs to answer what they do while working on the subject that matter currently and keep on repeating the why until they reach more profound knowledge of the work. Generally, with nine numbers of why’s, we get the full insight into the topic.


  • Helps in discovering the true purpose

  • Set the groundwork for the design

  • With answered details help in moving forward with velocity

  • Helps in generating criteria

  • Provides a progressive evaluation


  • Use toddler tricks of asking why

  • Maintain confidentiality for personal stories

  • Dig deeper with compassion with varying ways of questioning why’s.

Wicked Questions

By asking a wicked question to bring the paradoxical but complementary forces to highlight, teams can expose tension in strategies and floor work circumstances within an hour. This can be worked with an individual to a whole group of people in a scrum team.


  • Shows messy reality of situations

  • Provides innovative strategies that work

  • Avoid bipolar swings within strategies and action

  • Light creativity, improves accountability and freedom


  • Make as many examples possible to surface the paradoxical attributes

  • Avoid data-related questions that require analysis

  • Ask questions more based on field experience

  • Avoid blaming and nasty questions that can cause conflict

With the above four designs of liberating structure, any organization or scrum team can generate various ideas, know the upcoming and related challenges, get a deeper knowledge of the situation and related work they need to do, and also work on practically workable strategies by understanding paradoxical scenarios.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

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