The Liberators: Unleashing Organisational Superpowers
Today marks the official founding of The Liberators. We, Barry Overeem and Christiaan Verwijs, wanted to start a company that fits with both our personal missions — unleash organisational Superpowers!
Some of the best organizations we’ve worked with understand that effective change is about people, and not whatever fancy process or expensive coaches you throw at them. We aim to liberate individuals, teams, and organizations from de-humanizing and ineffective ways of organizing work by putting them in control of shaping their future. It is our experience that magic happens when you tap into the collective intelligence and creativity of people doing the work.
“It’s all about unleashing organisational Superpowers.”
Change from the inside-out
With The Liberators we take a radical approach to organisational change. Rather than taking the lead, we empower people within organizations to drive change themselves. We do this with high-energy, massively interactive workshops, and also by coaching and training people. We strongly believe that people are in the best position to shape their own work and their own world. We’ve seen this bring the most enduring change in the teams, and organizations that we’ve worked with.
“Empower people to drive change themselves.”
A common theme running through everything The Liberators do is ‘serious-and-fun’. As professional facilitators, we create space where people can tackle difficult challenges together while also having fun. Inspired by the fields of complexity science and organizational psychology, we use frameworks like Scrum, Lean Change Management and Liberating Structures to deliver fast-paced interactions, high involvement and creative destruction.
“We use frameworks and techniques like Scrum, Lean Change Management and Liberating Structures to help organizations thrive on complexity.”
Not a consulting firm or a training agency
The Liberators are not a consulting firm or a training agency. Rather than trying to maximize our billable hours, we believe that we offer more value by facilitating series of workshops that have a clear purpose and invite participants to drive change themselves.
One example is our series of ‘Zombie Scrum’-workshops. We start with an initial diagnosis with everyone involved — from developers to management (‘What is happening here?’). During a second workshop, we help participants craft a gameplan to improve the effectiveness of Scrum (‘How we can improve?’). A number of follow-up workshops are designed to help teams reflect on the progress to date and to continue on their journey of improvement.
Another example is the series of ‘Scrum Kickstart’-workshops, designed to help organizations or teams get started with Scrum. Together with everyone involved, we build a shared understanding of Scrum and Agile and what actions are needed to be effective. Putting the Scrum Teams in control, we help craft the initial product vision and Product Backlog and train internal Scrum Masters and Product Owners to make Scrum work for their organization.
The Scrum Learning Journey
We strongly believe that Scrum is a great way to build awesome products. As experienced Scrum Masters, and having worked with over 100 Scrum Teams, we know all too well how challenging it is to effectively deliver products with Scrum. Some band-aids here and there, a 2-day training with a certificate or a talk about Scrum simply will not suffice.
We are convinced that training and workshops should be part of a broader journey in order to be effective. This is why we organize quarterly Retrospectives for participants of our ‘Professional Scrum Master’- and ‘Scrum Master Advanced’-courses, organize meetups around a variety of topics (like Liberating Structures and Product Ownership) and develop learning journeys for Scrum Masters, Product Owners, teams, and entire organizations.
“We strongly believe that training and workshops should be part of a broader journey in order to be effective.”
Making waves together
You can’t make much of an impact alone. So, in order to make bigger waves and to maximize the impact of our work, we are building a family of Liberators — like-minded and experienced facilitators, trainers and professionals that recognize themselves in the purpose of The Liberators. Together, we will offer and develop new and existing tools, products and services designed to unleash individuals, teams, and organizations from the inside-out.
In addition to our family of Liberators, we have partnered with a number of international institutions and movements that join in our purpose. With Scrum.org in Boston, we are developing a ‘Scrum Master Advanced’-course to help Scrum Masters become internal drivers of change. We are working closely with the founders of Liberating Structures and user groups around the world to help organizations unleash and involve everyone with Liberating Structures. Together with Agile Akademiet in Copenhagen and Co-Learning in Belgium, we are offering a broad range of workshops and courses to Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Development Teams. With our Dutch partner 12Mprove we’re building bridges between the Lean and Agile community.
“To maximize the impact of our work, we are building a family of Liberators.”
Growing a stronger community together
We believe in the power of the professional communities that have emerged around Liberating Structures, Scrum and Agile. Without these communities, we wouldn’t be where we are today — having learned extensively from the experience of others. As we’ve done in the previous years, we will continue to actively contribute to these communities. Together with our family of Liberators, we will share our experiences and lessons learned on our platform on Medium, our monthly newsletter, and an upcoming book. We will continue to speak and facilitate workshops at international conferences like Agile-Lean Ireland, Scrum Day London and Agile Prague. We’ll help organise this year’s edition of Scrum Day Europe and we’ll continue to host Retrospectives and various meetups.
“We believe in the power of the professional communities that have emerged around Liberating Structures, Scrum and Agile.”
Invite Creative Destruction
So we are here to shake things up. By inviting creative destruction, we create space for radical transparency, an experiential approach and a strong focus on a shared purpose. This puts organizations in a position to thrive on complexity rather than being defeated by it. But our approach is not for the faint of heart — actual change does not happen when you remain safely in your comfort zone. This means that our most important question to our customers is this:
“Are you ready to leave your comfort zone and unleash your superpowers?”