LEGO Serious Play Blog
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitation Training and Certification

Building betterfacilitators

Podcast - The Lego Serious Play Facilitation Method with Sean Blai‪r‬

William Corless from YellowWood recently made a podcast with Sean. From the summary on iTunes:

"Sean Blair author and co-author of three books on the Lego Serious Play (LSP) facilitation method, joins fellow LSP facilitator on the podcast. Sean provides an understanding of this facilitation method, the surprising benefits and the importance of play.

Myth's are dispelled that it's just fun with a pile of bricks, and as facilitators we discuss the importance of design to meet group learning outcomes.

Sean also provides insights into how this facilitation method has adapted online and how to use this method in a covid friendly way.

Listen here:

Price Rise for ONLINE training

You may remember in January we gave you a taste of some of our plans for 2021. We have been working hard on these behind the scenes including some exciting developments to our 2 Day Online LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® certified facilitator course. Participants now receive a paper copy of our book "How to facilitate LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® ONLINE” along with further branded course materials and access to a new Slack channel devoted to Online sharing.

These improvements plus additional operating costs brought about by Brexit (don't blame us we voted *remain*) mean that we will be implementing a small price increase from 1st April of £100/€100. We hope that this will be seen as a reflection of our commitment to providing a gold standard service to our customers and as we enter this new chapter for SeriousWork we’d like to thank you for your support through this time of growth and change.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this price increase, please do not hesitate to contact

helen@serious.global who will be delighted to help.

LEGO® Serious Play® Community Development... and a new partnership

By Dr Holly Henderson, Education Incubator Fellow 2020/2021, University of Exeter Business School

This remarkable teaching technique has been introduced to the University of Exeter by Dr Holly Henderson, Senior Lecturer in Management, Business School. After running immensely popular sessions across three colleges and to University partners, Dr Henderson secured funding from the Education Incubator, which supports academic staff in exploring and developing innovative teaching concepts and ideas. This has allowed her to train an extended team of LEGO® Serious Play® facilitators to expand the reach of LEGO® across the University and beyond.

Research shows that the LEGO® Serious Play® technique can help students experience emotional positivity and a ‘state of flow’, which enhance engagement and lead to deeper, higher-quality learning. As sessions are delivered to cohorts working in small teams, it can foster a sense of community, facilitate peer learning, and allow participants to better understand and empathise with others’ points of view. This type of learning also aligns well with the institution’s longer-term Education Strategy: in particular, the innovative pedagogy of the Learning Reimagined theme, the student-centred approach of Success for All, and the employability and critical thinking aspects of Graduates of Distinction. LEGO® Serious Play® , along with similar playful techniques, allow the University to respond to a growing sector-wide focus on learning as knowledge production, innovation, and solving complex real-world problems.

To date, the team have delivered over 80 sessions to nearly 3,000 participants, using Microsoft Teams and Zoom to run sessions remotely to students, staff, and partners based around the world. The workshops have explored issues as diverse as sustainable energy, equality and diversity, employability, curriculum design, and overcoming writer’s block. Thanks to support from the University of Exeter Annual Fund, students will soon be able to sign up for a series of LEGO® Serious Play® sessions designed to support mindfulness and wellbeing, helping to combat mental health problems created or exacerbated by the global pandemic.

While some workshops are offered centrally by the LEGO® Serious Play® team, others are bespoke sessions designed in collaboration with module leads who feel the technique will offer a stimulating new way to approach the subject content. Students taking part in LEGO® Serious Play® sessions have described them as enjoyable, inspiring, surprising, and novel. Module convenors have praised how the technique ‘got students talking’ and helped build a community, despite the remote learning conditions.

In November 2020, SeriousWork and the University of Exeter agreed for the University to become the first SeriousWork LEGO® Serious Play® Training associate in Higher Education.
 Dr Holly Henderson is in the trainer-training programme at present and Sean Blair, founder and Master Trainer at SeriousWork said: 

"We are excited at the prospect of this partnership with Exeter University and the brilliant Holly Henderson. COVID has had a huge impact on students’ lives, and we have enabled Universities in the UK, USA, and Pacific Asia to adopt LEGO® Serious Play® as a way to improve student engagement and experience. We look forward to collaborating with Holly, to build on this experience and work with other groups within the Higher Education sector".

In January 2021, the second in-house training of new facilitators took place at the University of Exeter with another seven members of staff trained. One of these trainees, Dr Tom Ritchie reflected on this training, and said: 

"Holly led our training on LEGO® Serious Play® facilitation training. She was really inclusive in her approach to training; her high energy meant we were enthused throughout, and that even at the end of a long day of training, we were all still focused, enjoying ourselves, and learning".

This means there are now a band of 14 facilitators at the University of Exeter.  If you want to hear more about the community development at the University of Exeter or discuss in house training in higher and further education, please contact Holly and Sean h.henderson@exeter.ac.uk or Sean@serious.global.

What to expect from SeriousWork in the year ahead

As we say goodbye (and I’m sure for some of us ‘good riddance’!) to 2020, I thought I’d take a moment to share a few of our plans for the year ahead.

Education is a big focus for 2021

In the year ahead we will continue to bring LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to further and higher education, we plan to share more examples and frameworks showing how it is being used, especially during COVID-19, to improve the learners experience and learning outcomes, across a wide range of faculties including business, medical and engineering schools. #EducationInnovation. Expect us to announce out first sector specialist training associate in this area and the development of an education focused community of practice / knowledge exchange.

Systems and strategy 

In the year ahead we will illuminate the problem of ‘silo-strategy’ (strategy created by a single entity in pursuit of singular aims) and illustrate the opportunities and benefits of systems thinking driven strategy. We think this work will offer leaders working at the higher strategic ‘Build-level 3: System Models’ a fundamental reframe on what LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is and does. We hope to show that this approach is timely and valid for the system level challenges organisations and society faces. From the research and development work undertaken so far, we think this will be our most important work to date.

New materials

We will be publishing a range of material showing LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in combination with other methods and techniques, for instance how LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® works with growth mindset frameworks, positive psychology or to enhance learning with the scrum framework.

More translation of our books

Our three books will become available in more languages. ONLINE will be available in German, Spanish and Italian, MASTERING will be available in German, and our first book SERIOUSWORK will be published in Chinese/Mandarin Q2 2021 and with luck other languages to be announced!

We will bring LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to the attention of new audiences to show how the method is used to support organisational development, leadership development and organisational development. Maybe more HR professionals will consider LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® a valuable tool amongst many other excellent HR tools and methods?

Advanced training

We are working on further advanced training options and advanced application development that we will teach in new advanced training classes, and we are developing a launchpad programme to help already trained facilitators, who have lost their mojo a route to rebuild confidence, sharpen skills and get into orbit!

In pursuit of gold standard

And of course we will continue to strive to offer the best LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training in the world. We will always deliver practice-based-learning to develop learners facilitation skills and confidence in applying the method in the environment our clients ask us to work in, online and face-to-face.

Thank you

Finally HUGE gratitude to all who have shared the journey with us this year, too numerous to mention, but you know who you are and I hope you can feel the warmth of my appreciation for the trust, creativity and fun you have bought to my year.

Happy New Year - Sean 

All children are born artists by Sirte Pihlaja

We need a more experimental, startup mentality to disrupt our old ways of thinking and doing in today’s business world. The best way to achieve this is to inspire creativity and build a sense of empowerment in our co-workers by bringing more PLAY into our organisations.

We are all born creative. We don’t grow into creativity, but instead, end up growing out of it. During all of our education, schools teach us convergent thinking, which drains divergent thinking - CREATIVITY - out of us.

“Children have an extraordinary capacity in creativity. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. They are not frightened to be wrong. That’s not to say being wrong is creativity in itself. But if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you have no capacity to come up with anything original”, as Sir Ken Robinson warns us.

Most adults fear being wrong and making mistakes. Similarly, most companies want to play it safe, or rather they don’t want to play at all. Unfortunately, that’s not enough anymore. We need to re-think our purpose, and whether that purpose is even relevant anymore to our customers and employees.

“All children are born artists.

The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.”

- Pablo Picasso

The future seems more uncertain than ever, so we all need to seek out that creative five-year-old within us to see positive effects play out. We need PLAY in business to do just that. We need to start looking at things through a playful lens, that lets us think out of the box and gives our brain a hand.

Happy people think about others

Play helps us connect with the people around us, and can bring about a new wave of valuing other people, relationships, and supporting each other in business. It leads to lower levels of stress and healthier and more engaged employees. These are all signs of a forward-looking company.

Play is often associated with happiness, joy and having fun. In a business that has instilled play, people are allowed to experiment, find their “flow” effortlessly, and take creative risks. When it is ok to fail, the whole organisation learns and succeeds faster, propelling business growth, profits, and success.

People need to be HAPPY, so they care about delivering happiness to others. Without happy employees, you cannot have great customer experiences. In a company culture that advocates for play, people feel refreshed and energised, and learning and creativity get a boost. A playful organisation has motivated and committed employees, who are inspired, have fun together and perform better as a team.

Play has an essential role in business, as it puts us in the right mindset and allows us space to think differently - to be CREATIVE. As the need to introduce more creativity in an organisation is vital to its well-being, it’s time to PLAY. Seriously.

Ingrain play into your working habits

Play is not about external facilities like building a “creative environment” for your employees. Especially now, since almost everything happens online, it should be about the ways of working. So, the only investment you need to make might very well be between your ears.

Enter LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP), a creative methodology, initially created by the LEGO® Group for themselves, and later on open-sourced and applied to many different domains and disciplines. We’ve designed our application (http://www.cxplay.fi) to help understand change and ease transformation in the realm of People Experiences. LSP has also been translated to the online so that attendees can join the sessions from all over the world.

Using LSP, you can imagine a new story for your organisation, brick by brick. Through building your individual models and constructing shared ones, you may start by re-defining your purpose or create the strategy you need to reach that purpose. You can re-imagine new audiences and their customer journeys with your company, as well as do market research studies with existing ones. Just pick your bricks and tell your story.

You can also depict the various agents that affect the future of your organisation. But it doesn’t stop there. You can, together with your team, ideate and evaluate all the different scenarios that your people working in customer-facing roles might encounter. That allows you to create simple guiding principles, which empower everyone to do the right thing. Always.

Become the story you are building

There are numerous ways in which you can benefit in practice from a creative methodology, such as LEGO® Serious Play®. Most importantly, LSP skyrockets the capacity of your organisation to plan and prepare for the future by fast-tracking the discussions you need to have to make these scenarios and decisions possible. It lets you literally play all of them out before they happen.

The playful atmosphere in LSP workshops creates a sense of safety - an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share their experiences and innermost thoughts. It also provides an energising context for you to co-create and bring to life People Experiences, together with your colleagues and customers.

And just like kids become part of their story, instead of just telling that story to you, your co-creators internalise the shared ideas when they play. They learn and remember better, and implementing these experiences becomes much simpler and quicker as everyone has already invested themselves in the concepts discussed.

LSP is a serious tool for facilitating change. It reignites our innate creativity and directs the artist within us to create wonderful, new masterpieces to ensure our sustainable business growth also in the future. So...are you ready to find that five-year-old within yourself? Get ready, get serious, PLAY!

- - -

This blog post is republished with permission from Shirute Ltd. It has been originally posted at https://www.shirute.fi/en/blogs/all-children-are-born-artists.

Sirte Pihlaja (Certified Customer Experience Professional, LEGO® Serious Play® Trained Facilitator) is the CEO of Shirute, the first customer experience agency in Finland. She heads the activities of the global Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) in Finland. An internationally known CX/EX expert, coach, designer and strategist, she has over 25 years of experience in advising large international corporations and brands in different industries. Sirte is known for translating customer understanding to concrete actions and results in a fast and cost-efficient way. She is especially fond of creative methodologies and regularly plays with LEGO bricks together with her clients.

Sirte recently wrote about LEGO® Serious Play® in her globally best-selling book Customer Experience 2, co-authored by 24 highly experienced international CX professionals (http://bit.ly/cx2book).

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SERIOUSWORK uses the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method described in the LEGO Group Open Source Guide made available by LEGO under a Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution Share Alike’

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