Liberation Structures
Published Author Category Frontier RTP

On the Menu has officially gone virtual! Ahmed Avais, President and Coach at Agile 7 Inc, led a compelling and interactive session via Zoom. Though the topic was planned for an in-person session, it was also perfect for the virtual environment.

Liberating Structures are simple rules that make it easy to unleash everyone’s innovative power on your team. These techniques include hearing everyone’s voice, and finding solutions while saving time. There are 33 Liberating Structures; Ahmed was only able to scrape the surface on two during our 90 minute session. Mastering these structures not only takes practice, but time!  


The 1-2-4-All strategy is a simple way to involve everyone in the group equally and efficiently. By assigning roles and following the patterns described below, you will find that ideas and solutions are generated faster. These roles include:

  • Facilitator: Guides the group to stay on topic.
  • Scribe: Takes notes on what was discussed.
  • Representative: Presents the solution to the larger group.


  • 1: Think about the problem individually.
  • 2: Pair up and discuss solutions.
  • 4: In a group of four discuss, the “2” group solutions and try to find one that you all agree on.
  • All: Come back to the larger group and present your “4” group solution.

Ahmed demonstrated how it worked with the group. We first thought about the following question silently:

With the current pandemic we are all in different boats but in the same storm. We probably built new habits some that should stay and some that should go. What are the ones you want to keep and share with the world?

Next, Ahmed used Zoom to place us in break-out rooms with other people. After discussing the topic, the representative presented the information to the whole group.

After going through the steps some of the answer the individual groups came up with were to reconnect with long-distance friends and tend to our self-care, whether that be cooking, taking a walk, exercise or time with family.

Troika Consulting

Troika Consulting is a structure based on removing the visual bias in a virtual or live setting in a 1 (Client) to 2-3 (Consultant) ratio. By removing the visual stimulation, the client can focus on the consultant’s ideas to solve their problem.

Want to try out this structure? Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Assign roles to three participants. One is the client with a problem, and two are the consultants who will solve the problem.
  2. After the client presents the problem, ask consultants to reflect (1 min).
  3. Have the client share their questions (1-2 mins).
  4. Consultants ask clarifying questions (1-2 mins).
  5. Client turns their back away from the consultants (or turns off their camera).
  6. Consultants discuss the problem and generate suggestions, solutions and advice (4-5 mins).
  7. Client turns back around and shares their most valuable pieces from the experience (1-2 mins).
  8. If there are more consultants, the process can be repeated at this point.

While taking the leap was daunting at first, there were a lot of positives in taking this event virtual. Because it was accessible by anyone from their homes, our reach was much further than at a typical On the Menu event.

We had participants from all over the world including Bangkok, France, Nairobi, Vietnam, Minneapolis, Bangalore, SoCal and Italy. We were also able to test out some fun virtual features, like the annotation on Zoom and a polling system through mentimeter. Ahmed was able to provide thoughtful prompts and questions and participants were able to answer anonymously.

Want to get in on this learning community? Join us for our next virtual On The Menu events: