Emotional intelligence: LSP for conflict resolution

The air feels quite stiff when I enter the room. Fifteen people are sitting around a U shaped table arrangement: the old supplier, the customer, and the new supplier. The customer team is the only party managing to smile. The old supplier team, visibly from Anglo-Saxon genetic origin, is losing a very juicy contract. They show a mixed attitude between sadness and contempt, one of them in anger like looking for fight; clearly a “bully”. A Chinese woman sits quietly close by. The new supplier team, mostly from Indian background, is mixed by surprise and fear: they are younger in age and coming from a more graciously educated society are a bit intimidated by the older, bigger individuals who are sitting right across them with angry faces. The customer team is restless. The project manager looks at me with a face of “help please!” … Wow -I think- this is not going to be easy …

roadblockSo, where am I? I am in Budapest and my mission is to facilitate a workshop to initiate the collaboration for knowledge transfer from the old supplier to the new one. The stakes are high for all parties and the money in the game is big. The world-wide contract will last for several years, same as the old contract that is lost. The project manager warning during preparation was not sufficient to prepare me for the scene developing in the room. “Keep smiling” is not enough in this case: better get them to collaborate right away. I ask for help to move the tables around. We split in two tables of seven people each. The project manager is co-facilitating. We have four hours to do skill training, core strengths, outside perception, vision of success, shared model and finalize with simple guiding principles. If we manage to keep pressure on timing as they build the models and focus on the bricks, we may mitigate the escalation of potential conflicts.

IMG_0716To avoid tribal formations I ask them to “sit next to someone who is not your colleague, or at least who does not work normally with you in the same office”. I start pouring bricks on the tables and turns out as a perfect distractor: suddenly they are sitting like young scholars when the teacher is preparing a science experiment. The initial skill training disconnects the minds from the problems at hand and increase empathy among the players. The bully is stiff but cooperating, and everybody is having some fun. The core identity come forward with pride from all sides, and the external view improves the awareness of the mission. It is interesting to see two of the old suppliers presenting a model of the customer, highlighting the difficulties they faced to make the customer happy. The customer team smiles, probably recognizing themselves in the models … When we get to the vision of success or “how does the end game look like”, the bully announces that he is not going to build anything this time. I passively acknowledge “it’s ok” and continue with the exercise.

IMG_0744As soon as the vision models are ready I allow the first two volunteering to speak up so the atmosphere is relaxed with positive messages, and while the second ends his story, I end up positioned on the side of the bully, and say: “so, as I said before, an empty model is also a representation of something” – he looks surprised- “do you have something to say about it?”. No reply, his face clearly shows he did not expect this approach and sits still, with his arms crossed on his chest and the face of a stubborn child. I go ahead with “Ok, let me try to interpret this my way: from what I see your model is an empty space, an empty desk … and since I am a bit delusional I guess the meaning is … if your job of transferring to the new supplier is well done, then your desk will be empty” I end with a smile as big as my face. The bully shakes his head, opens up his arms like embracing the air as he bursts out: “No! I did not want to build anything because I want them to fail! My vision of success is that they will deliver nothing!” and with that statement he starts laughing uncontrolled, finally allowing himself to ventilate his real feelings. The whole group is laughing loudly and I start clapping to encourage further cheering, followed by an big applause from the whole room. The air becomes thinner and the room is lighter.

merged model collaborationThe Chinese woman, who is an alliance partnership of the old supplier and is facing the complete closure of her business unit along with laying off three hundred employees, volunteers to speak up next: her model is a happy face, because in her view if the transfer is well done the customer will be happy. I could not have asked for a better concept to close the scene. The ex-bully plays along from that moment onward for the rest of the day, enthusiastic like a child that is being accepted by the class. He is the director in charge of the old supplier organization and his new positive attitude makes the whole team collaborate towards success instead of failure. He even encourages his people to join the rest of the group for dinner and we all had a few drinks walking the streets of Budapest.

Challenging solutionsLooking back I can’t deny that I was a bit nervous … but I focused on the model (or no model) and that made the difference between igniting a conflict or defusing the ticking bomb. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust the method with a smile. Just try and you may be surprised by the power of LSP.

LSP Training Sessions in Spanish, Portugese and Italian with Lucio Margulis

Nuevas Fechas 2016 de la Certificación en la Metodología de LSP en Español, Portugués e Italiano con Lucio Margulis de la Asociación de Master Trainer de la Metodología de LSP

T3 Lucio Margulis -Pamplona

T3 Lucio Margulis -Pamplona

Fechas del 2016

Marzo de 2016
-Costa Rica -30 de marzo al 2 de abril
-Mexico -13 – 16 Marzo

Abril de 2016:
-Medellín-Colombia 27 -30 Abril

Mayo de 2016
-México 6 – 9 Mayo, a Confirmar puede haber cambio de fecha
-Brasil 24 -27 Mayo

Junio de 2016
-Mexico 3- 6 Junio, a Confirmar puede haber cambio de fecha
-Colombia a confirmar fecha
-Argentina o Uruguay fines Junio, a Confirmar

Julio de 2016
-Mexico 8 – 11 Julio, a Confirmar puede haber cambio de fecha

Agosto de 2016
-México 12 -15 Agosto, a Confirmar puede haber cambio de fecha

Septiembre de 2016
-Panamá y Nicaragua a confirmar las fechas

Octubre de 2016
-Barcelona 6 al 9 de Octubre
-Italia del 18 al 23 de Octubre

Para mas info contactar a info@JuegoSerio.com

UX/CX and Service Design with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®

Interdisciplinary and experiential, Lego Serious Play as a collaborative Service Design tool explores User/Customer Experience insights, leading to new service concepts, prototypes and blueprints.

cph jam 2016 logoUser/Customer Experience (UX/CX) interactions are a valuable source for IT & business analysis. Higher customer satisfaction and loyalty to well-designed services cannot happen without exploring the User and Business-integrated connections between any touch-points, infrastructures, front-end and back-end applications, systems, data and communication patterns. The ability of the business to capture and analyze the data revealing the customers’ needs and behaviors will depend on the methods used.

The current preferences to statistic analysis still neglect the ‘rich’ data value which could be contributed to the analysis by alternative methods. The problem with predictive analysis is the data biased by the existing rules of the game, for example customer behavior is led by the existing rules and services, so this data might miss fresh, innovative insights. The other fact forgotten is that customer is always a human, using the language, tangled to emotions and culture.

Therefore learning by exploring metaphors could lead to different results than statistics. Revealing the meanings, interpreted in an experience context, learning and extracting knowledge with Lego Serious Play could be a good tool to contribute to the customer-oriented services design, secured by highly inclusive 100% participation and idea acceptance.

Continue reading

Charlottesville’s NEON Guild Goes LEGO!

thumb_IMG_0723_1024 thumb_IMG_0730_1024

We had originally scheduled a LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) demo for the Charlottesville Technology group known as the NEON Guild back in January. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and we were hit with the blizzard of 2016 and had to cancel it. There was so much interest that we were asked to reschedule for February. The weather held for us and we were able to have the event as planned.

NEON Guild sessions always start with pizza and beer followed by a group introduction and announcements to get things moving and this one was no different except for the anticipation of playing with LEGOs. Everyone was eager to open their bags and start.

Not knowing how many people would show up I asked fellow facilitators Joan Gammon and Guy Winterbotham to come and help should we get a large crowd. Good plan! We had north of 35 people show up and thanks to Guy (we split an order of 100 exploration kits), I had more than enough LEGO bricks to meet the demand.

Since there were people from many different companies, finding the question we wanted to pose was challenging. With only an hour and a half for the workshop, I’m glad Joan and I worked out our approach in advance. We split them into roughly four equal groups and set them to work. The facilities were challenging due to a wall dividing the groups, but in the end it worked out great with the help of Joan and Guy!

We did the introduction by the book; they built their first tower, and then built their next model from instructions. We had a number of people in the group that had never played with LEGOs before and I can imagine how different their experience would have been if we did not take the time to help them get comfortable. The temptation was to take a short cut in the interest of time but I kept hearing Robert’s voice telling me not to skip the basics and I am a believer!

In the next part we asked them to modify the model to depict the worst qualities of a team member that the group had ever encountered or heard of. Lots of laughing and good-natured fun was followed by a lively session of sharing.

After putting away the exploration kits we then told them to build a model of the best qualities of a team member and had them go shopping in my collection of bricks. It was fun watching them ponder the right set of bricks but it led to a little bit of a time hit.  Joan and Guy solved the problem on their side of the room by dumping three big containers of mixed bricks on the tables and letting them do a free-for-all. That worked out better and will be sure to do that next time.

After building, sharing, and reflecting on some of the interesting metaphors, we had each of the four tables build a shared model of their idea of the ideal team member. Next a few folks told the story of the shared model to their table and then to the group at large.

The timing was challenging to keep things on track, and we found that the different groups were getting out of  synch frequently. All in all they had a great time and got a good taste of the potential for using LSP at their companies.

During the introduction we articulated the goals for the workshop and as the night came to a close we did a group review of them. There was 100% agreement that we exceeded every one of our goals!

The guild’s leadership sent us some of the feedback they received:

“Thank you for organizing last evening’s wonderful session. I enjoyed the Serious LEGO Play so much”

“I enjoyed meeting others and playing with Legos at the LSP activity”

“Best educational workshop I’ve attended so far. And I enjoyed meeting people from the tech world.”

“I had a great time tonight with Serious Lego Play. This is the first event of this type that I’ve attended that felt very relaxed and inviting.”

” I really had a great time tonight.”

We are looking forward to our next scheduled event at the Innovate Richmond Conference in March.

It will be fun!

Dreaming of being a certified Trained Facilitator in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®? Become it at Hotel LEGOLAND® in june 2016!

Now your dream can come true at Hotel LEGOLAND®, in Billund, Denmark. Learn the method of LEGO® Serious Play® and how to facilitate for enhancing innovation and performance within organizations.

LEGO® Serious Play® is for you who wants to develop your organization or are working with management, facilitating or processes.

IntHRface offers the education in english in June 6th-9th 2016.

Click here for more information about the event in English


LEGOLAND_Hotel_&_Conference_logo_pos_blackInthrface logo stor

Thinking about management, using your hands

Trivioquadrivio designed and held a series of facilitation workshops aimed at managers of a large mass retail multinational corporation. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology has been used to kickstart discussions and to valorize the point of view of each participant.

People tutoring and managerial skills have been the central topics of the two-day workshop. Each LSP exercise fostered a specific discussion then translated into a learning focus that became the heart of an in-deep formative focus.

A session of “simple guiding principles” targeted at the everyday managerial work closed the workshop. Each participant was invited to develop the personal guiding principles with his/her own collaborators.

For further information about Trivioquadrivio’s LSP unit see: http://seriousplayitalia.it

I’m serious, it’s play time

Peter Poeck (Solution Manager, Cegeka) wrote on ADM website the following post.

Houses, cars, trains, castles, dragons,… I’ve built them all! I’ve built my own dreamworld during my childhood and I loved it! This week I played with LEGO® again. Am I in a midlife crisis or is there something wrong in my head? Not at all and if so, I am not alone. Together with 100 people we had a “LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®” ADM session at San Marco Village in Schelle. It’s was a creative evening and I’ve enjoyed meeting some great people.

The goal of the evening was to play with LEGO® and working together. Yes we did! Together with 4 other people on our table we started to build. The room was filled with silence and everybody was busy creating ideas and visions.

From building a tower and creating your own design of happiness to building your own vision of the perfect ADM session. Looks silly, but it worked and everybody was 100% involved. Our last assignment of the evening, “build your ADM2020 session together with your tablemates”. Yes mates, because you learn to know each other during playtime and it was fun!

Let me explain our vision on ADM2020 in some bullet points and look at the picture of our creation:

  • An open gate were people can look what’s going on at ADM2020 (Visibility) – (A)
  • A buffet with food from different cultures (It’s all about culture) – (B)
  • A transparent environment (No walls) – (C)
  • ADM has a solid base and People are still in the center – (D)
  • We put important people & things in the spotlights, so everybody can see what’s going on (People first) – (E)
  • We made open Windows on the world (Working out Loud) – (F)
  • We do not always know where it is going and what form it will take (Self organizing Communities) – (G)
  • We always look at the future and see the positive and negative aspects – (H)
  • As soon as we have information & communication, we would definitely share with the world (Sharing is caring) – (I)
  • The wheelwork represents the technology that is necessary to make the vision a reality  – (J)

Now it’s time to build your own vision and meet people!


The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology is an innovative process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research which shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization. The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology is an innovative, experimental process designed to enhance innovation and business performance.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” – Plato

Greetings from the new editors

Hello fellow LSP facilitators, designers,  innovators and 3D thinkers!

Denise Meyerson and I are honored to step into the roles of editor and assistant editor for this wonderful community site. We are dedicated to continuing the excellent effort started by Marko Rillo in 2010. I meet Marko in December 2009, when he was attending one of the last facilitator trainings held by the LEGO® Systems Group offered in Billund, Denmark. When LEGO® announced they were moving from a licensing to an Open Source Model, Marko immediately purchased the domain name for www.seriousplaypro.com and set out to create a community. Bravo, Marko, for your vision & implementation and a big thank you for your continued support!

We are very excited to be contributing here in order to continue to build the community and spread the word about the power of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology and materials, as we encourage conversations and information sharing.

Congratulations to those of you who have tinkered, experimented, tested, prototyped, and discovered more and more excellent ways to apply LSP, which was first imagined by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen when he questioned (pardon the paraphrasing) “How might we use LEGO® bricks to help people work through the process of strategy?” Did he have any idea at that moment in time that this tool would eventually be used by facilitators around the world, who are often working on issues that impact so many lives in positive ways?

Through the efforts of this creative community, LSP has been applied in multiple ways within numerous industries and with a variety of populations. We are encouraged and inspired by the ways in which people have put the methodology to work as they have customized the process to gain fantastic results.

To facilitate this growth we want to make it easier for people to navigate this community site. As a result, we have decided to make a few layout and format changes:

  1. We are moving over to a magazine template to allow for the creation of columns that will facilitate topic areas to be explored to a deeper degree. Each area will be led by someone who has identified themselves as having an expertise in the  LSP specialization area.  You should see these changes soon.
  1. We are also going to create a standardized format for case studies so they are more concise and easier to read. Going forward, it seems wise to suggest that case studies should adhere to a word limit in order to keep to a more executive summary format. This way readers can be encouraged to ask clarifying questions if they want more information, creating—we hope—more conversations.

We look forward to some great real-time conversations, emerging innovations, and building a stronger community!

Play On,

Jacquie & Denise

Tackling Communication Issues in a Complex Environment

BMC Software Milan

Who’s BMC

BMC is a global leader in software solutions that help IT transform traditional businesses into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management set of IT solutions is designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized. From mainframe to mobile to cloud and beyond, we pair high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization—allowing our customers to provide intuitive user experiences with optimized performance, cost, compliance, and productivity. BMC solutions serves more than 10,000 customers worldwide including 82 percent of the Fortune 500.

The Lego® Serious Play® workshop

Raffaella Centonza, HR Mgr Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iberia & Middle East of BMC Software, located in Milan, decided to carry out a training project, focused on knowledge sharing, communication and experiential learning with the objective of renewing team spirit and improving communication in a company where:

  • There are 11 Italian people managers, where only 4 have direct reports in Italy while the majority of the population reports to different managers abroad, who have employees in Italy and in other countries.
  • This fragmented organization, while representing a real multination company, can imply a potential loss of a local company culture, where people often focus on the goals of their BU on a global basis and forget that they are also part of a local team!

Continue reading

Stanford University Introducing LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

Stanford Women in Tech Alumni at Stanford University Business School is organizing series of events on LEGO SERIOUS PLAY.

Let’s Play Fair & Learn | An Introduction to LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®

Did you enjoy playing with Legos when you were a child? Well we’re bringing back the fun!

astronaut lego pictureThe LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology is an innovative process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research which shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization.

This hands-on workshop will allow all participants to understand how LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is impacting business and teams performance by fast tracking the real issues, enabling better and faster decision-making and leveraging the organization’s collective knowledge. Everyone who’s responsibility in a team or organization is to deliver better and faster results will be inspired and bring a totally different, fun and creative approach to their workplace.

Come and celebrate with us the International Women’s Day and this year theme’s #PledgeforParity, while you network, have fun and great conversations, play with Legos and learn more about the LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.

And because this year’s theme this event is open for all.

Event details
When: Wednesday, March 9, 2016.
Where: Seawell Boardroom, 4th floor Bass Center. Stanford GSB Knight Management Center.
Cost: Stanford alumni $95 per person. Stanford guest $115 per person.

5:30pm – 6:00pm – Registration, networking, drinks & hors d’oeuvres
6:00pm – 6:15pm – Intro to LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY®
6:15pm – 7:00pm – Building a tower.
7:00pm – 7:45pm – Build the Company of the Future.
7:45pm – 8:00pm – Take a break, network, have more food and another drink :)
8:00pm – 8:45pm – Team construction. Shared model for the Company of the Future.
8:45pm – 9:00pm – Closing remarks.

Our LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY® guru is Guillermo Miotti

Guiller MomiottiGuillermo Miotti has more than 18 years experience in strategy, executive development, coaching and training in Fortune 500 companies. He had senior level positions at DHL, Accenture, PwC, and acted as consultant to Red Bull and Maersk, among others. Guillermo has developed his career in different countries and industries as both a consultant and corporate executive facing complex business and cultural environments. He uses LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology & concepts to unleash organizational and personal knowledge and solve complex business problems. He’s a certified facilitator in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Method.

3 Events | 3 Locations: San Francisco, Stanford, Berkeley-Oakland
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 from 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Neustar | 505 Howard St | 5th floor | San Francisco, CA
To register for the San Francisco Event visit: https://stanfordwitsf.eventbrite.com

Thursday, March 10, 2016 from 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Berkeley-Oakland area (Venue to be confirmed this week)
To register for the East Bay event visit: https://stanfordwiteastbay.eventbrite.com

Page 2 of 47