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Facilitated by Per Kristiansen. Hosted by Michel Cloosterman
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The other day, my son came home from primary school with his achievements. When he does well, the teacher gives him a smiley and if he has done really well (some kind of over-achievement), he gets a smiley with a crown. He showed me a collection of exercises for which he had received smileys and crowns and rapidly moved over the exercises where he had made mistakes. As we looked at his efforts for the month, I noticed that he makes mistakes on the same types of exercises.
One thing led to another and I felt that it was time for a father / son conversation on learning preferences. My perception is that the teacher offers exercises that are more suited to sequential auditory people whilst he seems to me to be more spatial and visual. I wanted to explain to him the difference the two thinking preferences so that he is aware of his preferred style. The big question was: how do I explain that to a 5 year old?
I turned to Lego Serious Play and built a model in which I explained his mental organization and that of his teacher. I added a few other elements I considered relevant. Actually, the most difficult part was borrowing some of the little construction workers from him!
I then explained my model to him. He didn’t seem to pay much attention and just nodded as I talked. At the end, I started asking him questions:
“Which little man do you think corresponds to how you feel?”
He pointed to a little red hat hesitantly. I was intrigued by his body language.
“That one? Do you mean that’s how you feel or that’s how you’d like to be?”
He smiled with his tongue sticking out to the side; he does that when something connects inside his brain.
“- I’d like to be like that, but I’m more like that.
– Like the man with the miner’s hat?
We didn’t manage to go much further. A few hours later, he explained to his mother that when somebody mentioned the word apple, in our heads, it could be red, green or lead to apple puree… or a banana. If this doesn’t make much sense to you, just take it as my part of the model on divergent thinking.
This morning, ten days later, I told him that I had been to a conference where there many people just like the little men with the miner hat. He immediately went to get the model that was still built (apart from all the construction men that he had taken away again!) and pointed to one part of it: “Yes, and this is a sequence: step one, two, three and four.” He looked very proud of himself.
I’m not sure whether that conversation will help my son or not in his daily dwellings with school, what I am sure of is that using Lego bricks to build a metaphor allowed me to explain simply something complex in a form that he can remember. I also believe it worked well because he is visual, so I am not sure this is a one size fits all solution as it may not work so well with different thinking preferences. I feel this is an avenue I need to explore further.
This post was recently published in my blog as a part of a big series of posts where I am addressing a full makeover our actual performance appraisal process. Here, you will only see step-by-step method for this special activity I use with LSP. A little bit of context, this activity is part of the “phase” of the makeover process, here is a small resume of this phase:
What should happen here: Discussions and interactions, common vocabulary, and understanding should be the most important here.
Format: In groups.
Output: “What do you want to become in X years?” If you are working at the team level, X could be 1 or 2 years. At the organization level, you should use something between 10 and 20 years. Sometimes, people don’t want to think more than 5 years ahead and that is all right.
All the information about this phase is in this post, today, I will address the “how-to”. To do that, I will share the first activity with you for this phase. If you want to know more about this performance appraisal makeover process, please visit this link.
Enjoy the activity
The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methodology is an innovative, experimental process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. To run this activity, I strongly recommend an external facilitator. Keep in mind that you really should to do this with the help of a facilitator, if you disregard this advice; it will be your choice for what you get for results.
In this activity you will have two parts: “the warm-up” and “the core activity” itself. In the warm-up, you will allow time for people to familiarize themselves with the tool (in this case the LEGO bricks). At the end of the warm-up activity, you can start to work on your challenge. I will explain to you both parts of this activity, but if you are curious about LEGO Serious Play Methodology, please visit this link. You will find a lot of information there. Some of the links are in my blog, but you also have external links to helpful information and different points of view.
For the warm-up activity you need to be sure that everyone has the same kit. You could check specific LSP kits here. The exploration bag is great for any warm-up activity.
I have had a number of people ask me how I deployed LSP at Airbus so I thought I would share how I came to LSP, what I have done and what worked and what didn’t work so well. Please just take this as a humble sharing of experience, nothing more.
I would first like to put things into perspective. Airbus group is a big entity of many nationalities, many different entities ranging from offices to production sites and products (airplanes, space and defense, etc.). I only have experience of introducing the method at an Airbus aircraft production facility in France, in St Nazaire. I am aware of two other one-time initiatives at Airbus using Lego Serious Play but haven’t managed to create any internal exchange of information around the methodology.
At St Nazaire, we structurally assemble the front and middle section of aircraft (meaning that we connect together sections of the fuselage to make either the front end with the cockpit or the middle section of the fuselage onto which are bolted the wings) and then equip them with insulation, hydraulics, electrics, air, and everything a plane needs and that you can’t see when sitting in it.
How it all started
I was introduced to the method by Per Kristiansen who came to the Global Innovation Forum in London in 2013 for a teaser workshop. I really liked the jacket he wore with the zip in the back so thought I would give the methodology a try. :-)
Returning to the office full of enthusiasm, I started talking about it with great energy. I showed a picture I had taken in London, however, LSP being something one needs to experience; I found it difficult to convey the potential of the method.
Héloïse Lauret from BNP Cardif that I had also met in London proposed to organise a session with other companies. Instead of the full 4 day training, we would do half at first. I managed to convince my management to attend this first half of facilitator training and would then test it before taking the second half. We finally all met at the Orange Campus in Paris for an initial 2 days training.
Back at the office, I assembled 4 pages showing photographs of what I had built during the training and illustrating aspects of what one can achieve using the LSP methodology. I started going from manager to manager telling a story using the pictures as a teaser. I generated much interest in that way, however, few managers were willing to try. Many were reluctant to abandon traditional brainstorming activities and some admitted that they could not see themselves putting their teams in front of Lego. Before having experienced a workshop, many people think we are playing Lego or using Lego to represent the reality (build the assembly line for example). Once they have participated, they see the true use and power. Continue reading
The pilot training was successfully delivered in April, 7-8. Among the first trained LSP facilitator’s there were nine educators, consultants, business coaches and trainers. The programme was delivered in Russian language and attracts participants not only from Ukraine, but also from other CIS countries.