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Episode 136

October 27, 2021

136: Facilitating with and without Lego Serious Play with Sean Blair

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    LEGO Serious Play is an increasingly popular method of facilitation and one that we’ve explored previously on the podcast, but I wanted to dive into a little deeper and with a slightly more critical lens.

    I found the perfect person for the job – Sean Blair, a LEGO Serious Play trainer and facilitator and soon-to-be quadruple-published author on the topic. You could call him experienced in the subject…

    And, to my non-surprise, we had the most brilliant conversation. So brilliant, in fact, that I had to split the episode into two parts to keep it at a reasonable length!

    We challenge each other, we bring new ideas and possibilities to each other, and we definitely don’t always agree. All of which made for one of the most stimulating and exciting conversations I’ve ever had on the podcast.

    Enjoy this episode – there is so much to take away from it.

    Find out about

    • How LEGO Serious Play helps us shift our focus from individuals to behaviours
    • Why ‘objectifying’ an issue is so effective at helping us communicate difficult things
    • Why LEGO Serious Play is effective for any topic, but not all objectives
    • Why we must always try to guard against ‘content ownership’ as facilitators
    • How to adjust to visually representing our thoughts using a ‘Tap and Tell’ exercise
    • What metaphors do to advance conversations and understanding

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    Questions and Answers

    01:02When did you start calling yourself a facilitator? 02:11How have you changed from being a “bossy” facilitator and what have you become instead? 05:05How do you train other facilitators – especially in the art of dialing up and down their presence in the room? 09:50What does it take to create a learning space that encourages and values mistakes? 13:54How does speaking with your own voice play out in facilitation? 18:28What makes a workshop fail? 20:55How would you start a workshop for a group in which you know there is conflict and politics? 25:13What is the power in using LEGO to help us talk about difficult topics? 28:11Do you use ‘minifigures’ (avatars or representations of people) in your LEGO Serious Play workshops? 32:01How do you negotiate the risks of a representation being misinterpreted between participants and creating misalignment? 00:57Is LEGO Serious Play a silver bullet? Or are there certain topics for which it simply would not work? 03:16 What are the competencies of a LEGO Serious Play facilitator? 05:37 What is the biggest trap when facilitating with LEGO Serious Play? 09:56 Do you think an expert should, or will, call themselves an expert? 14:31 What makes an expert facilitator, in your opinion? 16:28 Would you rather compromise on depth or breadth in a workshop? 18:23 How do you know, as a facilitator, that it’s “good enough”? 23:03 Was there anything else that you wanted to bring up that we haven’t touched upon yet? 24:03Where do you see the future of virtual collaboration – or if it has a future? 25:55What topics or objectives are better done onsite vs. online? 30:39What is the one thing you’d like listeners to take away from this episode?


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