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liberating structures Stakeholder Health




A growing number of folks trying to make the world better place are abuzz about a new book, The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures. The book that unfolds on several levels. At the most practical level, it’s a field guide to 33 facilitation processes that groups can use to discover new approaches to their work, dig deeper into motivations, get clarity on goals, and so on.

The emphasis on inclusion of all voices makes it idea for organizations working for broad inclusion of many stakeholders.

At another level, it’s a revolutionary way to reach “a whole new world.” This is particularly an important tool for the Stakeholder Health community.

As Gary Gunderson writes in a recent post on his blog, “The Memphis Model wasn’t just liberating meetings; it was a web of liberating relationships built over time in structures held together by trust.” He continues:

The liberating relational structures of Memphis—and now North Carolina—aren’t happy accidents. They are built on purpose for the purpose of setting people free from the bondage of what are usually called “social determinants” by healthcare professionals. Things like poverty and broken families are bad enough, but are especially insidious when experts believe they are so powerful that they determine lives. Left to drift, the patterns and privileges of race, wealth, education and law will replicate overtime with the predictability of gravity.

However, social factors do not determine the future if a community builds liberating structures strong enough to bend Dr King’s “arc of history” toward  justice. Humans can stand up on two legs and walk—even run and jump. But we have to choose to do so. And we can invest our time and resources to new relational architecture, but we have to choose to do so.

You can read a short review of the book at Thunderhead Works.