Suburbs of Rome in Italy are on the front line these days. Violence, riots, anti-immigrant protests, racism accusations. Rome’s experiencing what Paris, London and other capitals have already experienced in the past. In this environments youngsters live hardship, considering that most of them, even with a university degree do not find a job. An institution, the Goethe Institut in Rome, two associations, Italienverein in Dortmund and Corda Aurea in Rome and a Theatre in Rome Teatro di Tor Bella Monaca, consider that there’s a lot of potential in these youngsters which can be untapped just providing the right competences.
Together they are testing a project in Tor Bella Monaca where a group of young people (3 girls and 4 men, ranging from 18 to 30 years old) are acquiring entrepreneurial culture in order to build companies rather than wait for a job which might never come true. The project is organized in a series of workshops, ranging from business modeling, to marketing, from logical framework to diversity management. Yesterday the people of the project attended a four hours’ workshop using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® materials and methodology. This is a brief note on this unique experience.
Before, just few words on the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology. As the official website of LEGO® states “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”. Started in corporate environments, workshop using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® materials and methodology has already moved into social environments, in particular in Mexico where is used extensively by communities, local and federal government.
Beyond the 7 youngsters the workshop was attended also by the two Goethe Institut persons in charge of the project, a young entrepreneur (a girl, owner and manager of an hotel near Stazione Termini, Rome central railway station) for contaminating the workshop with what they may become, one of the workshop leader and the trained LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator (me). The objectives of the workshop were:
- Consolidate the participants in their motivation, potential and competences experienced so far;
- Check the effectiveness of the project among the partners.
After the usual warm up exercises, where the participants arrive at the condition of “flow” — when the competence and the challenge they face are in balance with each other — the workshop focused on talents. The participants were asked to build a model describing the characteristics of their main talents. The goal was to give everyone the opportunity to express their strengths, their potential. The result was having a clear shared picture of the talents and resources that everyone has within himself. The participants expressed themselves with models and with the story everybody told!
Than the facilitator give to each one participant the name of one of the person participating and asked to build a model describing his characteristics without revealing the name. So during the storytelling all of the participants guessed the name from the description. The objective of this challenge was give everyone a chance to express how they see each other. The result was accepting what the others think about us and be surprised. Fun and emotions were part of this challenge.
Finally at the participants was asked to build a shared model of their group using only the core talent, that particular part of the model (resulting from the combination of both models, individual and from the other person) that if missed would not be representing you anymore, with a story shared by everybody. After the construction three participants tells different stories and at the end the last one was the shared story, the story that represent the group.
The story was the answer to the workshop objective, the story that tell everybody what to do with the project and with the team, a team that seemed not to have a future when we started, a resource for the growth of each other in their particular personal challenge.