As some of you know I’m into the whole Lego for teaching thing and have used it for a few years in some games with students, and that you can find some of the bricks in my office. Some of you may have also noticed that since last September my laptop has a ‘Play Changes! StrategicPlay’ logo wtih Lego minifigs looking over the edge of a wall. (Ok, a plate if you know your colloquial German expressions, if you must).
Anyways, I just finished my StrategicPlay® facilitation training in the process and it was the best training session I’ve ever had. It was awesome. Yes, really. Now that I’m at the Play4Agile conference (twitter stream of #p4a12 hashtag), it seems the right time to write this up before I’m back at work.
If you need to help your clients discover their strategic change options in business, or how different changes in their business environment might impact their business, then StrategicPlay® (website) Lego Serious Play (LSP) facilitation training is what you too should have. This will help you more than you think as described in the StrategicPlay® prezi presentation and the case studies on the Canadian site. You can also find LSP case studies on the Australian MCI site who collaborates with the other two sites.
Lego Serious Play is not what kids use
Yes, you’re probably thinking Lego, kids toys and what’s that going to do for my business clients? I can’t go to them and suggest this sort of thing as they’ll laugh me out of the office. However, this is different, as I’ve mentioned before in an earlier post on LSP.
As noted in the earlier article, I’ve been reading up on this subject for a while and thanks to chats with Katrin Elster at StrategicPlay® (Twitter) , I had some understanding of the process and its benefits. After getting some Starter Kits thanks to a grant, in late January I ran a session with students and their group project clients, which went well and I discovered this really worked well as a group kick off for projects. The team members all had a common understanding of the ideas and goals of the project. Real cool! It also helped bring the teams together.
Three Days in Hamburg at StrategicPlay®
Come February I ended up in Hamburg at the StategicPlayground in the StrategicPlay® (Facebook) headquarters with my five fellow classmates and wow! We learned a lot in our three days.
I learned that brain work, which is what we’re doing from 9-6 each day with an hour for lunch, is hungry work. This is made easier by the great food of endless coffees, juices, fruit and cakes, provided by the staff and the fabulous lunches in a nearby restaurant. There are also celebratory drinks in the evening when you discuss how the day went and what issues might still need clarifying.
I learned that I could trust the process of using the Lego models built by workshop participants to illustrate metaphors. This is how Katrin teaches the facilitation training: you run through the process three times; once each day. The first and second days you are the participant, while on the third day you and your classmates each take a section of the process and Katrin is a participant too. The workshop sessions are balanced by theory sessions in another room, which on the third day is also where you have the debrief sessions of the workshop stages you ran with your team members.
I learned that what I thought I knew was the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that I had to learn and that reading and running a few sessions is not the same as the full facilitation training. They are so much different, and I suspect it would’ve taken me years to learn on my own the lessons I gathered during three days in Hamburg. The third day is what makes the difference. After two days you may know all that you need to know to run a session on your own, but the ‘graduation’ session you run with your team members and the accompanying debrief show you what you need to know and put all of pieces together for a real day-long workshop. Yes, it will still take me a while to sort out the first one I do, but now I know what’s involved and what questions to clarify with a client before I do it in order to make it run to its maximum potential. Sure I’ll be nervous, but I’ll also know that as I did it once with friends, that this time on my own it’ll be ok. I’ve already made the beginner mistakes in a safe environment so I’ll be fine when it counts.
I learned that the StrategicPlay® Lego Serious Play process is everything I thought it would be and more. It builds upon the process discussed in the LSP open source document. This document only scratches the surface though, and you learn more with Katrin at StrategicPlay® about how to develop this tool of creative problem solving.
In the coming months and years I know that this new part of my toolkit will help develop my career and change my teaching forever. I’m not the same person who waked through the door in Hamburg on Monday. I’m better prepared for challenges ahead thanks to Katrin and the new friends I made at StrategicPlay®. Yes, it was hard work, but it was great fun too. We had lot of that: plus laughter too.
What others say about StrategicPlay®
But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can see what others say too:
Michael Sahota videos on StrategicPlay – he was trained through the Canada office
Michael’s description of the StrategicPlay® training process
Thorsten Kalnin did his StrategicPlay® training with Katrin too and wrote about his introduction to the StrategicPlay® process as a means to envision the Play4Agile conference, how he became a trainer and what the session was like for him too. He also wrote how he co-facilitated the strategy session that launched the Agile Lean Europe network.
Pete Roessler did his StrategicPlay® training with Katrin too and wrote about how easy it is to use Lego Serious Play for solving complex problems.