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 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.
"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...
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/
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