ON FACILITATING LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
LEGO Serious Play Blog
Ausbildung zum LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Facilitator von SERIOUSWORK

BUILDING BETTERFACILITATORS

Tosin Interviews Sean - A Podcast on LEGO Serious Play, including some of the secrets of #OnlineLSP

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...


Or listen on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker or Pocket Casts

Thanks so much to Tosin, for his hard work preparing, recording and producing this PodCast. You can contact Tosin via LinkedIn here.

My first Online LEGO Serious Play Workshop. Shared Model Building with 78 Senior Academics and Executives. What could possibly go wrong?

Guest Post by Dr Holly Henderson Senior Lecturer

Department of Science, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, University of Exeter Business School

For some time, I've been really keen to get the LEGO Serious Play Method into our University research bids.

I managed to achieve my goal, by integrating LEGO Serious Play within an EPSRC bid for the New UKRI National Circular Economy Hub. This bid was won by Professors Fiona Charnley and Peter Hopkinson at the Centre for Circular Economy, University of Exeter Business School.

In our bid we had originally planned a LEGO Serious Play workshop to be part of a two day National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub Conference and Workshop in a Hotel in Derbyshire on the 28-29 April 2020.

Then... GLOBAL LOCKDOWN! Could face-to-face translate to Online?

Covid-19 hit and the world was thrown upside down. Thanks to Sean Blair and Jen Droege’s enthusiasm and drive to achieve what some deemed the impossible, the creation of LEGO Serious Play Online transpired. I booked on the online course as soon as I could and was awarded Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor funding.

Before training Online, I confess I was getting nervous about whether it was going to be possible online to achieve group builds.

After completing the course I totally believed in the methods and principles, albeit I was anxious.

In the days that followed the course, myself and my colleagues at the University worked hard, unbelievably hard to get the preparation right from the workshop dry runs, to working around issues with the online whiteboard Mural and policies surrounding the University and new tech providers.

The workshop….What did we want to achieve?

The objective of the workshop was: To help develop a common language and understanding of the circular economy, which creates the foundations of an interdisciplinary circular economy community.

What did we do?

The week before the workshop we sent LEGO Serious Play Windows kits to delegates. We had 78 Senior Academics and Executives who were then mixed into 8 Zoom break out groups. On the day of the conference we met for a pre-conference session at 10:00 to complete the Skills Build which acted a lovely ice breaker for all.

The Conference kicked off at 13:30 and the LEGO Serious Play Session went on for the rest of the afternoon.

The workshop plan highlights:

1. An individual identity build,

2. An individual circular economy build,

3. Then a group circular economy build.


The result?

The end result when we all reconvened in the main Zoom plenary session, 8 fabulous group builds to share. The sessions were both recorded and documented by a second facilitator.

The results were simply fantastic and you would not have guessed they had been built online. Furthermore, the amount of data collated for research purposes from the steps used laid the foundations for the next day of the conference.

So what did we learn as we went along the journey?

Don’t underestimate the preparation involved in delivering online. Dry runs of the workshop are critical to sort snags out. When sending out delegate packs include the A4 back drop template for participants. Dependent on what the requirements are for reporting, have a secondary set of hands capturing images and narrative of the session.

Feedback

"Fun to be involved in the UKRI – National Interdisciplinary CE-HUB Lego Build.” Circular Economy Club Manchester;

“Really well run (and fun) session today using @LEGOSERIOUSPLAY to visualise the #circulareconomy. Great work!” Amrit Agar;

“Enjoying creative collaborations with Lego on a #circulareconomy, thanks to @hehenderson and great folks.” Professor Raidmund Bleischwitz.


Big thank you...

To Sean and Jens for pushing so hard to achieve this and of course Prof(s) Fiona Charney, Peter Hopkinson, Ken Webster and Team for believing it possible and taking the risk. Photo credits: Zoom shot, David Greenfield; Laptop, Raimund Bleischwitz; and Group Build, Debra Liley

Note from Sean

Thanks so much for sharing your story Holly :)

Holly is one of our most active graduates, she has run 54 workshops face to face and now online, Holly has bought LEGO Serious Play to the Business School, Medical School and School of Engineering at Exeter University. I cannot commend Holly highly enough, especially for her work in academia. Contact Holly at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollyhendersonphd/

A message to graduates of all LSP trainings. Yes you can facilitate LEGO Serious Play online :)

El Capitan also known as El Cap, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park.

The 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".

This '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 for Covid-19.


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

In 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 :)

Virtual LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® – Is Online Shared Model Building possible?

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

After LEGO Serious Play Faciliation Training - SeriousWork Graduates

We recently asked some of our graduates to tell us what they had done after training, here is what they said... :)


Show more posts

Letzte Beiträge
Tosin Interviews Sean - A Podcast on LEGO Serious Play, including some of the secrets of #OnlineLSP
Tosin Adebisi is, accodoring to his mum, "a specialist in human-centered ...
A message to graduates of all LSP trainings. Yes you can facilitate LEGO Serious Play online :)
El Capitan also known as El Cap, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite ...
Virtual LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® – Is Online Shared Model Building possible?
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LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® © 2017 The LEGO Group

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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