LS – 1-2-4-all

What is meant by it?

When using liberating structures 1-2-4-all, you will be able to engage everyone regardless of the fact how big the group or audience is. In this way, by involving everyone you will produce better ideas and get the work done faster. People will not be hesitant to put forward their ideas, therefore solutions would be found easily. In this kind of liberating structure, an open conversation will be held between the participants which will help them in being more creative and the solution will be found easily.

How is it done?

Firstly, you will have to put forward a question to all the participants regarding to the presentation of the issue such as ‘How would you solve this problem?” or “How would you progress in such a situation?”. There can be unlimited number of groups and it is optional if you want to provide them with chairs and tables. The participants will be working in pairs and then in groups a of four. A paper shall be given to all the participants so that they can note down their observations. Every participant will be participating equally. First, the participant would start alone for silent self-reflection for 1 minute, then a pair would be formed to build ideas for 2 minutes and then a group of four people would be formed so that they can share their ideas for 4 minutes. Finally, everyone would discuss their ideas with each other for 5 minutes.

Why are they used?

There are various reasons why these liberating structures 1-2-4-all are used. They will help in making everyone engage more to search for answers, it will reduce the dependency of the vicious cycle, it will also diminish the power differentials, quiet conversations will be improved, and people would become good at observing before expressing their insights.

What are the Tips & Traps?

Before getting into a paired conversation, make sure to do self-reflection and then ask everyone to note down their point of views during that. You can use bells for different announcements. Make sure to complete your presentation in the allotted time. Ask each group to put forward their insights. It is also very important that one person speaks at a time. If you think that you have more to say, then you can go for another round.

Examples – Where can you use it?

Now you must be wondering, where you can use these liberating structures 1-2-4-all, right? Well there are several times when you can use them that are listed below.

  • After giving a speech or presentation, it is always important to get feedback to know how did you do. So, instead of asking, ‘any further questions?’ you can use the liberating structures.
  • Managers can also use 1-2-4-All to plan how they will conduct their meetings.
  • You can use them to chat about meetings.
  • For starting a discussion which is stuck on some other matter.
  • If you are a leader, then you can use them for conveying a message to your followers.

— Slimane Zouggari