The blog post below was written by SeriousWork graduate Dr Rebekah Wilson who works at Exeter University. Rebekah first published this post on the Exeter University Incubator website and we are grateful for her permission to re-post it here.
The Education Incubator Serious Fun, Serious Play, Serious Skills project awarded six bursaries to support Lego Serious Play Facilitation Training across the University of Exeter. In this blog, one of the bursary recipients, Dr Rebekah Welton shares her journey.
NOTE: Thanks for letting us share your write up Rebekah. We should also note that without the pioneering work being done by Dr Holly Henderson at Exeter University expanding the use of LEGO Serious Play at Exeter University would not be happening!
Tosin Adebisi is, accodoring to his mum, "a specialist in human-centered stakeholder engagement, an intrapreneur, educator, coach and facilitator"
Actually I made up the part about his mum, but that's what his LinkedIn proflie says.
Tosin, pictured above (no, that's not Sean next to him), is also a Certified LEGO® Serious Play® facilitator and PodCaster.
He recently interviewed SeriousWork founder Sean Blair. In this 56 minute interview Tosin asks Sean many questions including...
- You've been busy during the lockdown. As a trainer and facilitator, how have you found it? Tell us what you have been up too...
- What is LEGO® Serious Play® and why do you think it works?
- "Making a 3D print of your own thoughts", what does that mean?
- How did a toy become such a popular tool for businesses?
- Is Online Shared Model Building possible? Tell us about your new online facilitation course...
- Traditionalists say online LEGO Serious Play facilitation lacks tactile element. How did you go about recreating a similar experience?
- LEGO for Lockdown challenge - instructions for people to participate on Padlet
If you have an hour spare, or want to have a bit of background talk as you work-from-home, you can listen to the musings and ponderings of Sean and Tosin here:
The interview starts after the 5 mins, click just below the << if you want to skip the preamble...
Thanks so much to Tosin, for his hard work preparing, recording and producing this PodCast. You can contact Tosin via LinkedIn here.
El Capitan also known as El Cap, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park.
granite monolith is about 3,000 feet (914 m) from base to summit along
its tallest face. It is one big, big rock face. I know, I have tried to climb it twice, and failed both times.
Can El Cap be climbed?
In the early 1960's, if you had asked if it was possible to climb El Cap, the answer would be likely be no, as back then, no human had ascended this mighty wall.
If you upped the ante, and asked it it could be climbed in less than
a day, most people would have thought that a crazy question. If
you had asked could it be climbing in under two hours or without ropes,
the leaders of the climbing community would have surely asked if you had
smoked something hallucinogenic, and met such questions with by saying "no, that simply is not possible!"
Too much no in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® community?
The question "Can you facilitate LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® online" was recently put to one of the elders of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method. His answer was, "No, it is not possible".
'no' is on video, on the internet. But as we know, there are lots of
spurious videos on the web, of leaders saying things that are untrue.
You might have recently heard a President saying bleach is a good cure
Not possible is possible
The job of innovators or the new generation is to confront orthodoxy, challenge established norms, and show that what not might have seemed possible is, in fact, quite possible. History is littered with examples of leaders saying 'this, that or another is not possible', only to be comprehensively proven wrong.
In 1964, El Cap was climbed by Warren Harding. It took him 47 days, using what is know as 'siege' tactics: climbing in an expedition style using fixed ropes along the length of the route, linking established camps along the way.
Lynn Hill was the first to 'free climb' (using no points of aid) the most iconic route on El Cap, 'The Nose' over 4 days in 1993.
Photo: Heinz Zak
And as I'm sure some of you know, in June, 2017, a remarkable young man called Alex Honnold completed the first free solo climb of El Capitan. He climbed the whole route free, with no rope. And he did it in 3 hours and 56 minutes. The climb was filmed for the amazing 2018 documentary Free Solo.
And whilst the first ascent of El Cap took 47 days, in 2018, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell climbed El Cap in 1 hour 58 minutes.
Online LEGO Serious Play is possible - and in some ways better
Business guru Gary Hamel famously said that 'complacent incumbents' in any industry have a vested interest in things staying the same, but Covid-19 and environmental pressures have changed traditional ways of working, so has LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® reached a limit, or become useless just because we are now online?
The clear answer is no. We have made the what we believe is first ascent of shared model building online, and more importantly we have trail blazed a new route to teaching others how to facilitate LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® shared model building online. So this is just another of many moments where the old guard said "no, not possible" only to be proven wrong.
One has to wonder why such negative assertions are proffered, when innovation is needed?
20 years ago, the clever people (Professors Johan Roos and Bart Victor) had the imagination and vision to ask, 'can we use LEGO bricks for business strategy'.
This was a radicle and bold idea, and if they were still actively pioneering and advancing the LEGO Serious Play method today, surely they would have the imagination and ability to invent additional new techniques make the LEGO Serious Play method work-online? SeriousWork are not the inventors of LEGO Serious Play, but we have met the new challenges on online and have added new techniques to make online work, and work well.
It makes you wonder if organisations that claim to be guardians of the method are actually motivated by protecting their own self-interest?
A pioneering method needed online more than ever
the world we now live in, more than ever, people need tools and methods
to imagine new possibilities, design new models, and find ways to get
the economy moving again. The LEGO Serious Play method needs new skills
and mindsets to operate effectively online, but it is not only possible
but much needed.
So yes dear LEGO Serious Play facilitator you can facilitate online :)
The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® community is blessed with innovators (like the people who created this wonderful method) and hard core traditionalists (the ones who say 'no' quite often). So this blog post asks a contentious question:
Is Online Shared Model Building possible?
The answer is YES, and actually the experience and outcome is better than you might think.
The shared model building process differs in some important ways from face-to-face-in-the-same-room shared model building, and has its challenges as well as surprising opportunities. Yet, if a facilitator has the right mindset, has practiced the new techniques that online shared model building requires, and is well prepared before the workshop, the results can be as good as in the “real” world.
New Mindsets Needed
Some LEGO Serious Play traditionalists have recently written that online LEGO Serious Play cannot be learnt online because it lacks the tactile element. But this challenge can be overcome by new techniques that combine physical use of bricks with clever use of online-collaboration-tools. How do we know new mindsets are needed? Because if you had asked us a month ago, if Online LEGO Serious Play was possible we would have said no. But it turns out we were wrong too.
A group building a shared model online
A shared model built online by the group pictured above
Our business was born by embracing constraints
Can we be honest for a moment?
Four years ago, when we launched our book SERIOUSWORK, we unwittingly upset one of the authors of the other main book about LEGO Serious Play. When we came to develop our own training we knew this would be seen as controversial move in the LEGO Serious Play community.
And like every participant who were trained by the traditional school, we signed an agreement on the first day of our training agreeing not to use others Intellectual Property. We have honoured that agreement, and as it turns out, the limits and constraints of that agreement was one of the greatest gifts of being trained by the original method.
Constraints and limits are rocket fuel for innovation. We turned the 'master / trainee' model on its head three years ago and pioneered practice-based learning in LEGO Serious Play, and today we are embracing the constraints Covid-19 demands to create another innovation in LEGO Serious Play - online facilitation and training.
Masters of change, use change, to create change
Covid-19 has changed traditional ways of working. And for a while, face-to-face meetings are out. But now, more than ever, people working-from-home, need to meet in ways that facilitate human-to-human connection and support people to make sense of this new reality. People need effective ways to imagine what next, to rebuild careers, products and services in the hugely challenging times we are in.
Harness disruption to innovate even better solutions
So when disruption comes along, this can be seen as an opportunity or a threat. History is full of examples of organistions that created change, adapted to change or fell by the way unable to adapt to change.
Uber change the taxi market, AirBnB changed the hotel market, Amazon changed the high street, the list is long.
Online facilitation and training
Just as our second book, MASTERING The LEGO Serious Play Method (ironically launched in March 2020, the same month that Covid-19 put half the world on some form of lockdown), sought to pass on techniques for professional facilitation of LEGO Serious Play in face-to-face settings, our new book How to Facilitate The LEGO Serious Play Method ONLINE and training will seek to pass on all that we know, with the spirit of sharing that is defining our new age.
Sean Blair & Jens Droge
We recently asked some of our graduates to tell us what they had done after training, here is what they said... :)
MASTERING THE LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® METHOD 44. Facilitation Techniques for Trained LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitators
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® © 2017 The LEGO Group
© ProMeet 2019. SERIOUSWORK is a part of ProMeet, a professional meeting facilitation business. www.meeting-facilitation.co.uk