Five Structural Elements – Min Specs
What is made possible? By using P2P at the start of an initiative, the stakeholders can shape together all the elements that will determine the success of their initiative. The group begins by generating a shared purpose (i.e., why the work is important to each participant and the larger community). All additional elements—principles, participants, structure, and practices—are designed to help achieve the purpose. By shaping these five elements together, participants clarify how they can organize themselves to adapt creatively and scale up for success. For big initiatives, P2P makes it possible to include a large number of stakeholders in shaping their future initiative.
Attribution: Liberating Structure developed by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless. Inspired by Dee Hock (see his book Birth of the Chaordic Age).
Introduce the idea of P2P, the five elements, and related questions, and hand out blank worksheets. 5 min.
To clarify the first element, Purpose, ask the question: “Why is the work important to you and the larger community?”
Use 1-2-4 to generate individual ideas and stories for Purpose. 10 min.
In groups of four, compare, sift, and amplify the top ideas. 10 min.
As a whole group, integrate themes and finalize ideas for Purpose. 10 min.
Move to the remaining P2P elements, in turn, repeating the three steps of 1-2-4-All. Be prepared to go back and revise previous elements as needed (expect some messy nonlinearity). Use the following questions to guide the development of the next four elements:
After each element, ask, “Has this element shed new light that suggests revisions to previous elements?” 5 min.
When all elements have been completed, ask participants to step back and take a close look at their draft of the five elements together. Ask them to use What, So What, Now What? in small groups to make sense of all of the possible next steps and prioritize them as a whole group. 15 min.
After the initiative has been launched, invite the participants to revisit their P2P design periodically and adapt elements based on their experience.
Tips and Traps
Riffs and Variations