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Yes you read right, and spoiler alert: I did recently. :-)
It’s called Lego Serious Play and helps to create a common view on a certain project status, vision, challenge, team constellation or …. Feel free to add your own ideas for use cases.
I had the opportunity to participate in a LEGO Serious Play Facilitator training and would like to share some insights.
Maybe you are so inspired afterwards that you might want to try it out as well.
Picture 1: Don’t you want to start right away? ;-)
Why to use LEGO instead of Post-Its on a Whiteboard, virtual boards, Visual methods or anything related?
the team creates something physically / touchable with their own hands and everyone participates. At the end you have one „creation“ you all emotionally relate with, agree on and identify with.
You could probably place it somewhere prominent to keep it in mind. For example you expose the „Project xy goal“ creation in the entry hall - there will be many curious people checking this out.
How to start:
Chose the participants and questions wisely - like for any other workshop too. What’s the goal?
Then start with an easy task - like „Build a duck“ - to learn how to use LEGO and awake your abstract thinking.
Picture 2 - Question 1: „Build a duck“
Next - some individual creations:
Add two other small tasks that slowly lead to the initial question to solve.
Like „Build you worst workshop situation ever“ or „What characteristic is most important to you for a workshop facilitator?“.
Everyone presents her/ his creation to the group. All participants are equal, nobody critiziess, only questions that help to understand are allow.
Picture 3 - Question 2: „Workshop from hell“
The workshop topic question:
Everyone builds her / his individual creation(s) related to the questions, after 2-3 presentations and iterations the group prioritizes them and afterwards they are combined into one big work.
Important: everyone within the group agrees on the individual creations chosen, their meaning and their position.
When everything is set minimum two different team members explain the Gesamtkunstwerk from beginning to end in their own word and that is caught on film to document it.
How do you check if everybody is ok with the final creation? Do the „Fist-of-Five Voting“. Ask „Do you agree with the explanation?“ - everyone shows his hand with 0 to 5 fingers up (0 = No Way! to 5 = I love this!) and you deep dive into the outer ranges, e. g. the 1 if the average shows a 4. This may cause some iterations and adjustments but creates a common view and a full identification.
What you don’t see in the joint model example - but it helps to understand dependencies: add some connectors to the model that show interdependencies and move with (or not) when you place the individual parts in the Gesamtkunstwerk.
Picture 4 - Question 3: „Which characteristics does a LEGO Serious Play Facilitator need?“
Your role as facilitator - ask questions, ask more questions and again ask questions. :-)
Lead the team during the creative process, be aware of possible tensions, moderate and never comment with your own point of view on that topic, at least ask before you bring in another meaning. That’s the hardest part: if you’re personally involved into the topic, chose that workshop moderation wisely.
I’d now love to hear your opinion: