The Liberating Structures 15% Solution Method: A complete guide

Why is this method useful?

The Liberating Structures 15% Solution method is a powerful tool for stimulating collaboration and problem-solving within a team. It’s based on a simple idea that changes everything: everyone can identify and act on the opportunities within their immediate control, even if they only represent 15% of their sphere of influence. By focusing on what everyone can do immediately, rather than on what they can’t, the method encourages proactive action, individual responsibility and continuous improvement.

When is it particularly useful?

The 15% Solution is particularly valuable in contexts where innovation, problem solving or continuous improvement are essential. It is ideal for :

  • Project teams: When obstacles seem insurmountable, this method enables solutions to be found by focusing on possible actions.
  • Collaborative working environments: For teams looking to improve collaboration and communication, this method encourages the active participation and commitment of all members.
  • Organisations undergoing transformation: In periods of change, it helps to mobilise energies and overcome resistance by focusing on concrete actions.

How long does it take?

The 15% Solution method is quick and flexible to implement, and can be adapted to different time formats. Typically, it can be carried out in :

  • 15 to 30 minutes: For a quick session, perfect for a short meeting or workshop.
  • 1 to 2 hours: For more in-depth discussions, allowing ideas to be developed further and concrete actions to be planned.

How do you implement it?

Here are the steps for implementing the 15% Solution method:

  1. Introduction: Explain the concept of the 15% Solution to the participants. Stress the importance of focusing on what they can do immediately.
  2. Individual reflection (5-10 minutes): Ask each participant to think about and write down the actions they can take in their area of influence, even if they only represent 15% of their total capacity.
  3. Sharing in small groups (15-20 minutes): Form small groups of 3 to 5 people. Each member shares their ideas and receives constructive feedback from the other members of the group.
  4. Group discussion (10-20 minutes): Bring everyone together to discuss the main ideas emerging from the groups and identify concrete actions to be implemented.
  5. Action plan (10-20 minutes): Each participant or group creates a detailed action plan for the selected ideas, including specific steps and deadlines.

What are the expected benefits?

The main benefits of the 15% Solution method include :

  • Individual empowerment: Each participant feels responsible and able to contribute to problem solving.
  • Creativity and pragmatism: By focusing on what is feasible, participants are encouraged to find creative and pragmatic solutions.
  • Increased commitment: Participants feel more committed and motivated when they see that their ideas are taken into account and implemented.
  • Continuous improvement: The method fosters a culture of continuous improvement, where everyone is constantly looking to make improvements.
Read also: Improvised Saynets 

Pitfalls to avoid

To maximise the effectiveness of the 15% Solution method, here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

  • It is crucial to keep the focus on what is feasible and under control, rather than on limitations and obstacles.
  • Make sure that the ideas discussed are followed up with concrete, measurable actions. An action plan without follow-up will not bring results.
  • Make sure that the organisation supports and values individual initiatives, thus facilitating the implementation of the proposed solutions.

By integrating the Liberating Structures 15% Solution method into your management and collaboration practices, you can transform the dynamics of your team, encouraging pragmatic creativity, empowerment and ongoing commitment. This simple but effective method can be a real catalyst for positive and lasting change in your organisation.

Of course, the Glowbl flowchart makes it very easy to transpose this method. By sharing this process with other teams, you’ll be able to quickly spread the method throughout your or

Let’s finish with an example!

The Context: The Training Design and Organisation Team

Let’s imagine a team in charge of designing and organising training courses for a large company. This team has to develop content in digital format, organise virtual classes and ensure that all the participants follow the courses. The team is overwhelmed and deadlines are often difficult to meet. Team members feel stressed and overwhelmed by the workload.

Implementing the 15% Solution

  • Introduction: At a weekly meeting, the team leader introduces the 15% Solution method. He explains that everyone is going to think about what they can do immediately to improve the situation, even if it only represents 15% of their area of influence.
  • Individual reflection: Each team member takes 10 minutes to reflect and note down the concrete actions they can take. For example:
  • Laura, an instructional designer, suggests standardising certain training modules to save time on content creation.
  • Pierre, a training co-ordinator, suggested using Glowbl, which enables the educational content of virtual classes to be transposed onto Glowbl, along with all the related resources and activities, and then used ad infinitum by different groups and different trainers. So you only have to do the work once. What’s more, the trainers only have to click to move from one stage to the next during the virtual class, so they save themselves a lot of time. At the end of the session, all the data and resources shared and produced are available at the click of a button. A real productivity booster.
  • Sophie, a trainer, is planning to create a guide for participants on how to use the training tools in order to reduce the number of requests for technical support.

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