In this first Liberating Structures Meetup in Groningen, we explored how Liberating Structures can be used to foster customer focus in teams (e.g. Scrum Teams). We used a string of 6, and explored what is required for customer focus and what we (as facilitators) can do to support this. (Liberating Structures are 33 easy-to-use structures for interaction in groups of any size.)

We started with “Impromptu networking” to answer the two following questions: “What challenge did you bring to this Meetup concerning customer focus” and “What do you hope this meetup will bring you”. We practiced 3 rounds in pairs.

In “Appreciative interviews” everyone was able to tell a story about a successful moment with outstanding customer focus. It could be a story where you were the customer and it didn’t have to be work related. We heard many good stories. At the end we made one flip-over with all the things that stood out in all these special situations.

In “Wise crowd” one participant told us about his challenge and after elaborating a little on it he would turn his back to his group of 3 consultants to listen to their discussion to help him out. For some of us it was really hard to only listen, but in the end very valuable.

We used “1-2-4-all” to get a table full of index cards with things/actions you or your team could do to get a better focus on the customer. In “25/10 crowd sourcing” we scored the cards by answering the question “would you want to spent time on this tomorrow, start it right away”. We scored the cards while moving (and dancing) on good old nineties music (Duran Duran, Dr. Alban).

The 4 highest ranked cards were distributed in four groups and participants were now encouraged to tell what they could do tomorrow to follow up on this action without any permission needed or dependencies on others; “15% solutions”. So we all took one thing home to improve customer focus tomorrow.

Thanks to theFactor.e (especially Danny van Kammen) for hosting the location and for the very tasty pizza’s. And thanks to all participants for making this a very helpful and interesting evening. Hope to see you all next time again.