A typical LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshop can be summarised with the following steps, even though each workshop has some peculiarities and the underlying processes that the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method enacts are much more complex.
- STEP 1 | The project
According to the needs of the organisation, the facilitator designs a workshop and prepares a script, which describes every step and activity to be performed during the workshop. The workshop design is personalised and tailored on the number of participants (min 2/3 up to 10/12), needs and problems to be addressed. A workshop may take from 3/4 hours up to 2 days. The length of the workshop depends on the goals and the workshop are designed in the most time-effective and efficient way, considering the team’s time constraints and the organisations’ needs.
During the workshop, after the ‘warm up phase’, participants are asked to construct symbolic and conceptual models of their own visions and ideas, so that their ideas and visions takes a physical shape, enhancing the discussion and the knowledge sharing activities. Building models with LEGO bricks has a very low entry requirement and it does not need any special skill, so that everyone can engage with the activities and the group. Moreover, building a tridimensional object engages both hands and brain, generating more ideas because of the hands-mind connections.
After building their model, participants are invited to tell the story of their model, telling the others their views and ideas, depending on the topic at hand. In this phase, the subject is the LEGO model and the facilitator guides participants in a knowledge sharing and meaning making experience through the use of the models, which act as communication mediators and idea enhancers.
Participants are invited ad guided to comment on others’ model, enacting the meaning making process. Since the core of the process is the model and all interactions are mediated by the model, participants focus the model and not on the other participants, avoiding personal tensions and overcoming the traditional barriers, such as the function, roles and seniority of the participants.
After the discussion, participants are asked to build a shared model or shared landscape/vision. This is where the constructive negotiation happens: the model is always the heart of the process. This phase enacts a number of discussions, meaning making and negotiation activities and it ends only when all participants have agreed on the final outcome. All participants will recognise in the final model both their own and everyone else’s contribution: the final vision, strategy, concept… is the result of all participants’ engagement and commitment. This is when the group has become a team.
After the workshop, the facilitator provides a full report, including recordings and an analysis of the emergent situations. The facilitator can then discuss a monitoring activity to be performed after the workshop. Workshops can be repeated by the same teams as the projects, initiatives and situations evolve, either to verify the progress or to define the next steps, i.e., a workshop can be run during a project’s design phase to define the goals and strategies, or to better understand the user requirements, a follow up workshop may help to check the work in progress or to asses the team, that might change…