Phillipp works at a large consulting firm in Abu Dhabi. He flew to London in October 2018. A week after completing his training and certification Phillipp ran his first workshop. His objective was "to understand different meanings of 'identity' and create a common, group understanding".
I’m Philipp Rosenthal, a Sustainability Consultant that supports clients in the development of Sustainability Strategies, the implementation of associated programs and the reporting of non-financial disclosures. As a Clean-Tech engineer by background, I understand the importance of clear definitions so that everybody is on the same page. For years, however, I have struggled as many times clients have different levels of understanding of “Sustainability”. It could simply mean too many things. The term is too large, too all-encompassing. With LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, I want to tackle the problem that there is a lack of mutual understanding.
In my work helping develop of sustainability strategies, we ask our clients and thier stakeholders to prioritise which sustainability topics are the most important. It is here that the differences of understanding of a sustainability topic creates suboptimal outcomes.
In my view, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is especially powerful in this context as companies face a wide range of requirements and expectations that are sometimes hard to clearly define. Creating small 3D models can bring the topic to life, bond participants to a shared understanding and help bringing this important topic to the top of a company’s agenda.
Facilitating these workshops is an art that I was happy to be introduced to by Sean and Caroline from SERIOUSWORK. But similarly to other skills, facilitation is a muscle that needs constant training.
As suggested by Sean, I chose to conduct my first group session in a low-risk environment. My wife and son, who I have tested the methodology with before, are already adamant believers in this powerful approach to communication and they did not want to miss the opportunity to join in as well.
My first workshop: Exploring meaning and identity
I started with the usual Skills Build 1 & 2 and then chose to ask the participants to build a model about themselves, disclosing something that the others 'don’t know about you'. The group consisted of two pairs from different friend circles. They had met before only once but generally do not know each other well. I chose a more personal question for the Skills Build 3 so that it gets a little bit more personal before we dived into the main topic. After everybody built and shared, I encouraged curiosity by asking a few questions.
We then moved on into the main topic. I posed the build question: “Build a model of what “identity” means to you.” and gave 5 minutes building time. I was then very surprised by the some of the sophisticated answers that were shared.
We reflected briefly on some of the common themes before I asked the group to build a shared model of the group’s mutual understanding of the term. It is here, where things really kicked-off. I could see the “analytical” personalities opening up, everybody leaning in and they jointly created an impressive model of what “identity” means to them.
At the end, I asked the group for some feedback and was stunned. “This is an amazing approach to bring every view into a discussion.” This was mentioned by a usually more quite, analytical character. “I loved to see the different representations of the other participants and by building a shared model and co-creating, I have learned not only about “identity” but also got to know new people.”
Below timelapse shows a social gathering with the objective to create a shared understanding of what "identity" means to the group.
This was, of course, only the beginning. I have created the Facebook Group (“Abu Dhabi LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®”), a focused Instagram account (@Philipp_plays), am sharing content on LinkedIn and am currently setting up the Abu Dhabi Meetup. Then, I am creating Go-2-Market materials to bring this to my clients but before that, I will run a session for my team to update our team’s vision. There is lot’s to do.
Thanks, Sean and Caroline. It is not only this innovative methodology but also your mastery in teaching – from curating a group of excellent individuals to executing a thoughtful training experience – that has made this an exceptional first step in a journey.
Note from Trainer Sean Blair: Well done Phillip - It's great to see you helping groups exploring meaning. This really is one of the power features of LEGO Serious Play. It's never the words that matter (written or verbal) but always the meaning. An inspiring story, thanks for sharing.
Jesse works at Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and flew to London in October 2018 with his colleague Christina. A couple of days after completing his training and certification (and flying back to Hong Kong!) Jesse ran his first workshop.
Jesse has kindly allowed us to share the email he wrote to the other graduates of his class, reporting on his first workshop.
Email From: Jesse Lui
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 12:14 PM
To: Graduates of SERIOUSWORK London Training 25-26 October.
Hope you had a good weekend and got some rest. Christina went on to a holiday and I traveled back just in time to return to work on Monday :)
I had my pilot workshop with my team here, which went great!
We ran the skills build exercises:
After all the skills builds, participants worked on individual model of our greatest customer experiences.
Then participants worked on a shared model of our greatest customer experiences.
What was encouraging were their reflections. I came away from the training fully believing in the method. The spontaneous responses of my team gave me a boost of confidence. If you’re interested, take a look at the last page of the deck I built to capture yesterday’s workshop (below).
Keep in touch, everyone! Look forward to hearing your stories on what you are learning from applying LSP!
Miss you guys already!
Note from Trainer Sean Blair:
Well done Jesse - That's a record!
Just 3 days (over a weekend and an international flight!!) before facilitating your first workshop, that's getting into practice right away, the very best way to embed the skills leant on your training. Thanks for sharing!
Two weeks after our September training course four graduates shared their reflections.
"Literally seven days after our training, I facilitated my first LEGO® Serious Play® strategic workshop. I can’t imagine any other training program that would’ve given me the skills, resources and confidence to run my own session (with a fully fledged paying client!) within such a short timeframe."
Arief Abraham, Principle Voyager Consulting
"KERPOW!!! Is the only way I could describe the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Training delivered by SERIOUSWORK. Too often training courses are drab theoretical affairs, not this one, right from the beginning we were hands on, learning by failing fast! As an practised facilitator I’ve never experienced or observed the depth of engagement and organisation development that LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® enables, this has proven true not only in the training environment but with a live client."
Nick Richmond, Director, Tricordant Ltd
"I will be forever grateful that I chose to train as a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator with Sean and SERIOUSWORK. I had looked at the four-day course but it seemed very theoretical and who wants to just look at Lego? This was one of these best training courses I have ever been on. The training is immersive, hands-on, builds confidence and I left ready to take this fun, creative and fabulous tool into my business to support my clients. Only wish I had discovered it sooner!"
Sonja Gibson, Founder, Wild Orange Wellbeing
"Yesterday I completed the Lego Serious Play facilitator training designed, developed and led by Sean. One word...WOW! What an informative, supportive, innovative, creative, exciting and valuable 2 days! It is clear that Sean is a gifted facilitator and trainer and his generosity in sharing this wonderful knowledge and experience with the group was felt by us all. I have come away from this course not only with an awesome tool in Lego Serious Play but also with a hugely improved set of facilitation skills. It was clear how much time, attention and care Sean has put into designing this course and to leave having such wonderful practical and hands on experience allows us all to venture into the world not just with a certificate but with the true ability and confidence to lead some awesome workshops using this incredibly powerful tool."
Rebecca Godfrey, Team, Leadership & Pharmacovigilance Consultant
Thanks to Arief, Sonja, Nick and Rebecca for your kind comments.
Yesterday 12 more participants 'graduated' from our two day LEGO Serious Play Training and Certification.
The photos below give you a sense of the energy and feel of our two day training courses.
I understand there is a shortage of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® kits at the moment. If you need a Landscape and Identity kit but can't get one... you can make your own! This list of bricks costs about the same and will give you a good selection of bricks in place of the Landscape kit:
When you first un-bag these bricks - I'd suggest you assemble the windows, tyres, mini-figures, doors, hinges, turntables etc. before mixing the bricks into brick soup (see below).
Mini Figures Bricks
In place of Windows kits
You can make "brick soup"... here is the recipe!
Each of these kits gives you about 1kg of bricks, they are a bit little bit light on mini-figures, if that's important search for 'bulk mini-figures' on eBay and buy say 100 additional mini-figures.
When you unpack the bricks for the first time, assemble the window, turntables, wheels etc, then combine into one big pile. Use kitchen scales to weigh out anywhere between 100g and 200g of bricks per person. For table groups of 6-8 people put a pile of mixed bricks, say 1.2kg (like the photo above).
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® © 2017 The LEGO Group
© ProMeet 2018. SERIOUSWORK is a part of ProMeet, a professional meeting facilitation business. www.meeting-facilitation.co.uk