I recently became a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator, having successfully completed a four day workshop run by Jens Rottball, who is part of the Association of Master Trainers. Prior to this I attended a two hour introduction to LSP with Sean Blair at ProMeet, which gave me a taste of some of the basics of LSP.

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I found the four day workshop an incredibly stimulating learning experience, with definite challenges along the way in terms of my own thinking. The transition from 2D to 3D thinking also posed its challenges, and having to sometimes simply ‘trust the bricks’ and your ‘hands to think’ was very liberating. A by-product of the LSP approach was definitely a greater need for listening to what everyone was saying, retaining a focus on the model, and the need for continual storytelling.

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Some of the areas I’m interested in looking at are how LSP can be used together with:

  • Design Thinking
  • Business Model Canvas and Context Maps
  • ideation & rule breaking
  • and how I can incorporate it into the social customer care workshops I run, perhaps to help people think through in more detail about managing a social media crisis, team dynamics, metrics, customer experiences etc.

I’m actually running my first workshop in a few week’s time for an academic organisation. I’m helping a team understand the different skills and expertise each member brings, as well as helping them to define a set of guiding principles in terms of how they want to collaborate with each other when they are working together on specific projects.

If you’re interested in speaking to me about a workshop where you’d like to explore the use of LSP, then please do feel free to email me.

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13th June 2018 Ran my first workshop this week. Just a short one of three hours. The aim of the workshop was to help a small team of academics when bidding for funding for multidisciplinary grand challenges to:

  • build up a greater sense of mutual trust in each other
  • recognise their individual and collective contributions
  • understand how each other works, in order to understand how best to work together

The workshop was split into three parts: skills building, core/external/aspirational identities (AT1), create a landscape (AT3), understand the conditions needed to successfully work collaboratively together (AT1).

As the group reflected on their core, external and aspirational identities (aspirational models below), it was obvious that they had little appreciation of how each other liked to work, or what their individual intellectual contributions might be. I felt the use of LSP was helping them to share and communicate openly and honestly with each other on a level that had not been there previously.

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It was obvious as the group reflected after building their aspirational models, that the workshop needed to address a more immediate, and related, issue around an event that was going to be run in early July. This event represented in microcosm how the group might run future bids, but up until this point they had not found a way to come together as a cohesive group.

As a result I decided to change the direction of the workshop (with the approval of the sponsor) and asked the group to individually build a model (AT1) to answer the following question: What is one action that you are going to take between now and the July 3rd event to get things rolling. They each built a model of what they were going to do, reflecting their intellectual contributions that they had shared earlier, and it was great to see how some recognised the need to work with others in the group in order to achieve their desired outcome.

Finally, I asked them to build a shared model (AT3) on a single base plate of a team ‘to do’ list (image below, with the event in the middle) of what they were going to do, with the July event represented somewhere on the baseplate.

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For me, my takeaways were:

  • don’t forget to focus on the model and not the person
  • be aware enough of what people are saying, as you may need to change the direction of the workshop; and be confident enough to make that call
  • if someone comes in late, especially if they have missed the skills building, it can be problematic for them to ‘catch up’
  • be sensitive to people, especially when they are opening up about themselves ie. know when to question them further, and know when to give them space and move on to the next person
  • I really enjoyed the workshop, and three hours was over in a flash!
  • LEGO® is an amazing medium to use, andLEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, as a 3D problem-solving approach, is very different to 2D problem solving. There are so many different layers of complexity (or simplicity) that you can put into the bricks, and building a car or a set of bricks to represent a complex problem is far easier than drawing it!
  • People’s confidence to listen and tell a story grows as they become more confident and familiar with the bricks. In a sense, their stories become more complex, more layered and nuanced, as they understand the possibilities the bricks offer
  • I definitely need to improve the pictures I take of the LEGO® models, together with putting together a LEGO® playlist

Can wait until my next workshop!

 

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