In the fourth episode of ://webweek Live TV I was interviewed by Roman Keßler (initiator of ://webweek Live TV 19) about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. Here is a summary of the video:
://webweek Live TV
Interview by Roman Keßler
Roman Keßler: Now LEGO is actually nothing new, but LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is a completely new method. Maybe you can explain it briefly first? What do you do with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?
To put it bluntly: we play LEGO, but we play in a goal-oriented way. That means we try to solve quite complex tasks together. In the method, we follow a process: I ask a question and it’s not like in a meeting that everyone immediately knows an answer or some people know an answer and tell it, but that everyone takes the time to build a model as an answer.
What kind of questions do you ask?
They can be questions like: “Build a tower”. These are very simple questions that gradually become more and more complex. That’s exactly how we build up knowledge, because we hear what the others are saying and that’s how we get completely different insights and completely different ideas. We always build in a team and at a table and ideally there are 10-12 people, the perfect size.
So LEGO play for adults. I did a workshop with you once. I was very enthusiastic because it was very easy to talk about what it’s like in the workplace. One of the questions you asked at the end was something like, “Try to recreate your hierarchy” (that was more or less the question). I remember very clearly that one lady had built something that was a big tower. Someone stood on top of it and controlled the people from above, that was very, very interesting.
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is more in the area of agility or new work, which means that what you should actually expect is not too much LEGO, right?
Yes and no. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY originally comes from strategy development, but you can use it in many different areas. It is simply a method that has no content. I have my process and the different application techniques, and one of the things is how I combine the different models. And with that, I manage to use the method in the most diverse contexts, be it in a team workshop, but also in Design Thinking, which means it is incredibly diverse in how the method can be used and that is what makes it so exciting!
And also what you just said with this model and the hierarchy, things come out of it and that’s always exciting. I never know what comes out, of course, because I can’t see inside people. But through the method you have a possibility to go very, very deep and to bring knowledge to the surface that you perhaps didn’t even know you knew.
And the great thing is that everyone can do something with LEGO. So you build with LEGO and then you explain it. For example, this is a little flower, that’s the webweek Live for me, that’s something that will blossom beautifully next week when it starts on Monday. And other people build the same thing and then have to explain what that is for them. That way you also get to know each other and can communicate with each other on this meta-level?
Absolutely. For one thing, you pay attention to the models when you listen, so you move away from the person to the model level. That means you are immediately on the factual level and there is no longer this “… You have always said…”, as one might have experienced in meetings sometimes. There is also a certain security when you start to explain, you have something to touch and you can show it to people and at the same time it inspires. We humans work with metaphors, so we manage to explain and present complex issues very easily.
Just a stupid question: Is there actually a PLAYMOBIL® SERIOUS PLAY?
There is actually something. PLAYMOBIL has started, they are white figures that you can write on. I know that exists, but I haven’t had it in my hand yet. I’ve only seen it.
And how does it work at the events? Do I have to bring my own LEGO?
Of course I have everything with me, a LEGO set for everyone and of course everyone has the same sets. It is very important that everyone has the same starting conditions in a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop.
How did you come to this topic?
I did a training as a coach and just at the end of the training I saw a photo with many LEGO models on the table. I asked a friend what that was. She explained to me that it was the sales team of her company from the DACH region, building the sales strategy for the following year. So in this company there was a facilitator who developed these strategies with them.
I saw the photo, wanted to know what it was and I knew exactly what I had to do and the following year I did the training.
Did you play a lot with LEGO as a child?
Quite normally, actually, and it’s not at all important that you have to draw on a lot of expertise.
It’s a method to involve the whole team, there’s no one who can sit back and relax during the meeting because they don’t have anything to contribute anyway. Everyone is building at the table and therefore they want to tell what they have built. Because everyone builds and everyone listens and you always pay attention to the model, it doesn’t matter who said what. In this way, you also get the most diverse hierarchical levels around one table, all listening to each other.
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is actually suitable for everyone. Unless I have a very thick carpet and want everything to stay under the carpet – that’s perhaps the only criterion where I would say in that case I’d rather not have LEGO SERIOUS PLAY or if I have an aversion to LEGO.
For the full ://webweek Live TV programme, go to: https://www.wwrm.de/Programm
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