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Now What?!

Invitations Blog

October 12 - November 20, 2020

Liberating Responses to COVID -19

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

How might we use Liberating Structures to create virtual engagements that enhance our capacity to respond effectively and compassionately to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"Liberating Structures introduce tiny shifts in the way we meet, plan, decide and relate to one another. They put the innovative power once reserved for experts only in hands of everyone."

Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures


Liberating Responses to COVID-19 exists to develop virtual processes that engage large numbers of people in rapid sense-making and innovation…

  • In service to this crisis

  • As a capacity that can serve us in many other contexts long after the crisis is over

  • As a means of spreading a global culture of kindness, compassion, and innovation

The Possibility

In the face of a global pandemic that is challenging our communities and systems in unprecedented ways, there is a need for processes that engage large numbers of people in rapid sense-making and innovation. It is also necessary that these processes be deployed using virtual tools and not via in-person gatherings.

The array of group processes known as Liberating Structures ("LS"), offered via technologies such as Zoom, Sutra, and VoiceVoice, has the potential to meet this urgent need in these ways...

  • Using small groups as the core unit of engagement

  • Scaling to include thousands, and potentially even millions of participants

  • Supporting people gathering at times that work for them, and/or to work asynchronously

  • Supporting conversations in whatever language participants desire

  • Harvesting what is learned in ways that generate collective wisdom

The Context

The Now What?! global gathering which runs from March 23 through April 30 can provide a container for designing, testing, and launching a set of LS-based virtual engagements. Now What?! offers the following resources:

  • A diverse array of virtual spaces to connect, learn, experiment, and launch new initiatives

  • Partnerships with the developers of cutting edge virtual engagement tools and platforms

  • Facilitators who are eager to develop new approaches to virtual engagement

  • Participants looking for ways to be of service, drawn from a network of networks that includes whole systems thinkers, change agents, global activists, community organizers, and more

The Invitation

Please join a cohort that will meet regularly (schedule TBD) over the course of Now What?! in order to do the following work together, using virtual LS for both our process and our product:

  • Generate a set of valuable engagement possibilities that cover specific needs, audiences, processes, and platforms

  • Design and test LS-based engagements during the course of Now What?!

  • Create a plan for disseminating approaches that show promise

  • Raise money to support this work

The Requests

Each person in the cohort is requested to frame the specific commitments, offers, and requests that they wish to make as a participant this initiative. All work is to be offered as a gift and an act of service.

If this interests you, here are options for getting connected:

  1. Register for Now What?!

  2. Once you register, indicate via the "Streams/Partners/Home Groups" tab in the registration and network mapping interface that you are interested in this Engagement Stream (see image below).

  3. Sign up for the Now What?! Slack workspace and join the #liberating_covid-19 channel

You can also email Ben Roberts if you have any questions or need support with the steps above.


For Step 2 above, use your personal link to the registration and network mapping interface to go to this tab and then click on the Liberating Responses to COVID-19 tile, as shown below:



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