If I had a dime for every time someone mentioned the need to embrace “best practices,” I’d be a rich man. It makes intuitive sense to benchmark yourself against the best when trying new ideas, building partnerships or developing new programs.
But sometimes, embracing best practices or other conventional approaches just doesn’t work. Why not try the opposite by embracing worst practices? Instead of modeling the “best” systems or programs, try to build the worst. By studying the worst, you can, at a minimum, learn what not to do.
Embracing worst practices is just one of dozens of interesting out-of-the box organizing principles that can be found at the Liberating Structures website. Liberating Structures is the brainchild of two consultants, Keith McCandless and Henri Lipmanowicz, who, like many of us, had grown frustrated with traditional group planning and faciliation approaches and were looking for new tools and models for promoting disruptive innovation.
Liberating Structures has lots of great resources, and the material will be soon be available in a book. I’m most impressed with the “Liberating Structures Menu,” which, as promised, provides a menu of tools and techniques for helping groups work together. Each tool includes case studies and detailed guidelines for use. Examples include: “Wicked Questions,” “Appreciative Interviews,” and “Ecocycle Planning.” If you’re a facilitator or if you’re just part of a group that is stuck in rut, this website is a great resource for new ideas and approaches.