Frequently Asked Questions about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Method
What is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is many things. Most importantly it is a technique where people use LEGO® bricks to follow a series of structured exercises during which they build things that represent their personal or business challenges metaphorically.
Listen to this 20-minutes long video about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® here. As Marko is a slow speaker then we suggest speeding it up at least 2x, otherwise you will fall asleep :-)
Who invented LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology?
SERIOUS PLAY® concept was created in 1996 by Professors Johan Roos and Bart Victor when they both were professors at IMD in Switzerland. Thereafter the idea was sold to LEGO owner and CEO Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and ultimately developed into the patent application. The patent was never issued, because LEGO decided to abandon the patent and later make the methodology Open Source.
What is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Open Source?
Even though LEGO Group patented LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology, it ultimately decided to allow everyone to use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for free. LEGO® created an open source document which explains the methodology and the process.
It is as simple as: “1) You use, 2) you develop, 3) you pass it on to anybody else to use under the same terms.“ Anybody can do what they like with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as long as they refer to original LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Open-source document and give exactly the same credit for the next developers.
You may read more in the original LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Open Source Document
What are the trademark rules?
LEGO® Group created the trademark guidelines document. Meaning LEGO® Group owns all rights and intellectual property rights to the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® trademark and bricks.
This means that if you want to market your services you must be very careful on how to present yourself. You cannot imply in any way that you are associated with the LEGO Group. Otherwise you will violate the trust of LEGO® Group when they decided to hand this wonderful methodology to the world.
And you do not want LEGO lawyers come after you, do you? :-)
Who owns the copyrights for LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® core process and application techniques?
Some people who formerly worked for LEGO corporation market their services by telling that they own the original intellectual property for the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® core process (i.e. 4 steps: facilitator poses the question, individuals build a model, individuals tell their story and spend their time on questions and reflection).
They also suggest that they hold the copyrights for the framework of 7 application techniques (building individual models, building shared models, creating landscape, making connections, building a system, playing emergence and extracting simple guiding principles).
Their claim is incorrect.
The intellectual property for the LSP Core Process and Application Techniques were held by the LEGO Corporation in 2006-2007 (read more). Since 2010 these are open source.
The only thing that is not open source from the original materials is "detailed applications" - detailed roadmaps of different workshops that make use of the principles, the philosophy and the materials. E.g. if somebody has used LSP for agile retrospectives. Somebody for job interviews, consumer mapping, user experience, business modelling etc.
Frequently Asked Questions about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Training
Is it worth to be trained in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
Yes. If you plan to start working as a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator we strongly suggest you to go through training that provides you with in-depth knowledge and hands-on skills that you need to start working as a practicing facilitator.
It is SO EXPENSIVE! Do you offer discounts?
Check the price of the training and potential group or non-profit discounts with your chosen trainer. The cost of training sessions varies between EUR 2000-3000 ($2500-3500), plus travel and accommodation.
However, given that you will probably be using LEGO Serious Play for your professional work, we suggest you to be inventive and identify the ways of making business with the method already prior to attending the seminar. Post on social media about your planned training session and see if you can pre-sell your LEGO Serious Play workshops to your friends, family or clients. Find a champion who would like to introduce the method to their company. Sell this idea to your boss.
One of the ways of making it affordable is to host a training event in your area. If you can find a group of 5-10 other people who are interested in training on LEGO Serious Play in your area then perhaps as a contribution of your skillful hosting you may either enjoy the event for free or even profit yourself.
If you find it very difficult to raise funds for the training we suggest you to start self-educating. There are many wonderful books that you can read about facilitation.
Will LEGO train me in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
Not any more. In 2009 LEGO Group provided the final training sessions on LEGO Serious Play. Thereafter in 2010 the LEGO Group made LEGO® Serious Play® methodology Open Source. This means that the LEGO Group does not offer any kind of training. This also means that no training provider is officially linked to LEGO.
This means that even if somebody organizes training sessions at venues associated with LEGO or claims that their training is "LEGO Serious Play certification", there is no quality guarantee from LEGO Group. All the trainers are operating on an open market and are fully responsible for the quality of training contents themselves.
LEGO Group has still strongly suggested in the LEGO® Serious Play® Open Source Guide to take up training with one of the training providers to make sure that when you facilitate, you would be informed about the skills that are needed to be a skillful group facilitator.
How to choose the best training provider?
There are more than 30 trainers providing public LEGO Serious Play training courses globally. Some provide custom training courses that focus on particular aspects of LEGO Serious Play methodology or in-house training using LEGO Serious Play.
- We first suggest you to first think WHY are you going to use your skills for. LEGO® Serious Play® for coaching does not necessarily need strategy applications, and vice versa. So prior to joining a training group, ask your trainer to send you a layout of the training sessions and explain you what skills will you acquire by attending their training.
- Different trainers have different styles. Some are academic. Others practical. Some traditional. Others innovative. Some emotional. Others distant. Some have experience in certain cultures. Others have a global view. We suggest you get in touch with them in person and ask them send you training videos where you can see them in action.
- Ask your trainers whether they have actual tasks where you need to practice and demonstrate your skills of running a workshop. Ask if they will also coach you after the training session is over.
- Some trainers use proprietary teaching materials. They might restrict you and do not allow you use the acquired methodology in training setting. Make sure that you ask them first about any legal implications of training with them before signing up and won't violate their intellectual property later.
Can I train the others?
Yes! Of course! LEGO Serious Play methodology is Open-source. This means that anybody who wants can train the others. There are no limitations.
If you feel that you do have the necessary experience and feel qualified to do so then please get in touch with us. Please send us your references and write a few words about what is your Unique Sales Proposition as a trainer and we will give you the right to post your training events in our community Events section.
If you are just starting out and think that you would like to train others in the future, then be aware that some training providers may not allow you do that. Please make sure that you understand your obligations well before you sign up with a training provider and choose somebody with terms suitable to you.
What is the meaning of "Certified facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method and materials”
There is no particular meaning. Some facilitators have adopted badges and titles that state that they are certified facilitators. In practice this does not provide a certificate of quality.
All current LEGO® Serious Play® certification processes just offer certificates for showing up at an training event. Provided you complete the training course you get a certificate of completion. No matter what your skill level or competency, this kind of certification does not mean people who are "certified" have met quality assured standards of practice. There is NO independent body of certification who is certifying the knowledge, skills, capabilities, values or competencies of different facilitators who claim to be "certified".
Until such certification mechanisms will be put in place, we suggest you get in touch with the facilitator and ask them to provide you with a proven list of earlier references.
What are different applications that I can get trained in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
In the 2010 LEGO® Open Source Guide LEGO® said, 'New applications will be developed by the international community of users, and may be shared online. In this new phase, we welcome creative uses of these tools, and innovation in the community.'
Applications are different blueprints for facilitation sessions. Some trainers are rigid about their applications, asking their trainees to follow their applications closely. Others provide more flexible roadmaps that given you a generic direction on how to facilitate e.g. a strategy session, a teambuilding event or an ideation workshop.
We suggest you to get in touch with your chosen facilitator and ask what applications does their training programme cover. If they say that it covers "everything" then do not believe them and ask them kindly be more precise on what example workshop uses will their trainees be able to start working on the next day once the training session finishes. :-)
Any more questions?
If anything is still unclear then please post your question in our forum where one of our community members will help you out: http://seriousplaypro.com/forum/