Archive for ‘Methodology’

April 21, 2014

LEGO Serious Play & Co-creation

LEGO Serious Play used to co-create new services at Bologna Global GovJam 2013.

LEGO Serious Play used to co-create new services at Bologna Global GovJam 2013.

Lego Serious Play is a facilitation method that was designed in ways to enhance business performance by bringing around the table key stakeholders and by facilitating the discussion and meaning sharing activities through the use of LEGO bricks, metaphors and storytelling.

LEGO¬ģ¬†SERIOUS PLAY¬ģ is a method that allows participants to negotiate decisions and strategic and operative plans and to co-create ideas creatively, socially and interactively. Thanks to the peculiar collaborative and social dynamics enacted by the method, all participants in an LSP workshop¬†contribute to the discussion and to the decisions.¬†The LEGO bricks act as co-creation tool and as a communication mediator: bricks are both a media to build and express complex ideas through storytelling and metaphors, and bricks act as a¬†mediator between participants, allowing people to overcome hierarchies and power games that often affect workshop like activities and co-creation initiatives.

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June 7, 2013

Jamming with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY: the 5 variables of Workshop Design

LSP @ GovJam

LSP @ GovJam

What if I apply LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to a Jam?

I should not ask myself such questions, because when I ask myself this, I want to find out the answer. So, my latest experiment was applying LSP to a GovJam. For those who are unfamiliar with the Jam concept, a Gov or Service Jam is a global event, taking place simultaneously all around the world for 48 hours, where participants, called jammers, are called to design a service or a product on a common secret theme, which is revealed just at the beginning of the Jam. The name Jam is taken by music: in a jam session musicians improvise on a common theme and make music together. The idea in a Jam of ideas, is the same: let people improvise and jam with their ideas to make new ideas together.
In a GovJam, the goal is to design a service aimed at the local public administration. Knowing how LSP can be flexible and how helpful it is when it comes to define a common topic and for team building, I thought it could be an exciting challenge to imagine and design a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop to enhance creativity and let people to jam ideas with bricks.

This turned out to be an exciting designing exercise which has been demanding but rewarding as well. Designing an LSP workshop for a Jam, revealed a number of key differences with the design of a ‚Äėtraditional‚Äô workshops and this challenge lead to a dynamic, exciting and challenging workshop management. Thanks to the experience, I have had kind of a guerilla training in managing the unexpected and I have learnt a number of useful issues which will be useful for future workshop design.
So, I have identified 5 variables that should be taken into consideration when designing a workshop in any other situation where nothing is given and everything is improvised and based on the play-do-play-do mantra.

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February 23, 2013

Play to build organisations‚Äô social capital

Social Capital is more than the individual / human capital- Build it with LEGO

The simplest questions are the toughest to be faced. Methodologies like LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (LSP) are said and proved to have a huge effect on organisations. Right, organisations. But what are organisations? And how LSP can be beneficial?
It might sound a stupid question, though I think that there are no stupid questions just wrong assumptions. In order to¬† better understand the context, I had a look to some classical authors in organisational theory. I‚Äôve looked back at what literature says about organisations: literature is still a huge resource when it is part of a search for answers. I’ve started with classics, those authors that most managers today should be familiar with to better understand the context as it is.
Weick (1979) says that organisations are ‚Äėidentifiable social entity pursuing multiple objectives through the coordinated activities and relations among members and objects‚Äô (:3) and later, in 1984, Daft & Weick write that organisations are ‚Äėopen systems that process information from the environment’¬†(:285) so that are seen as meaning systems (:293).
Scott (1987) focus on people when stating that ‚Äúorganisations are social structures created by individuals to support the collaborative pursuit of special goals‚ÄĚ (:10).
Chia (2000 :514) says that organisations are social objects constituted by discourse.
The social nature of organisations seems clear: organisations are made by people.

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February 17, 2013

Building knowledge

Theaetetus by Plato

‚ÄúFor this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.‚Ä̬†[Plato, ¬†Theaetetus]¬†

When we want to know something, what we do is to search for reliable sources of information, to look for people who spent their lives studying a subject, trying to give it a sense, trying to make the topic understandable and clear and adding their own insights by formulating some statements which should define – and sometimes confine – the realm of knowledge we can get.
When we search for information, the first thing we rely on is the literature on the topic: we delve into books and papers, read, listen and watch everything relevant. Like sponges, we absorb what the world have already said and thought about the subject at hand, we take one or two of those main concepts, adopt them and elaborate our personal and critical insights starting from there.
We might end becoming experts and authorities on that subject with people asking us to explain the mysteries we already faced in the early stages of our research.
We build our knowledge step by step, brick by brick, by collecting information and combining it in something that fits the existent knowledge and our experience.

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February 2, 2013

Harkness Table and LSP: Differences and similarities

Harkness Table

Harkness Table

I was reflecting on my experience with architecture students at University of Ferrara and LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. [See the video]

I find amazing how students who did not have any clue about the content and the goals of the workshop engaged in the discussion and raised a number of enlightening ideas about Heritage. They were not asked, neither provided, any books or papers to read, the idea was to understand how a bunch of students in their early-twenties could theorise and think about Heritage independently, critically and collectively.

So, in my research about educative approaches that capitalise on collaboration and collaborative meaning-making, I’ve found about the Harkness Table. For those who are not familiar with it, this is an educative approach introduced in 1931 when Edward Harkness, a philanthropist, challenged Exeter University asking them to innovate education and provided them with an oval table. The idea behind the table, which was meant to allow 12/15 students to sit around together with their teacher, was to create a different approach to education where students were seen as a team and could be encouraged to take part to a discussion, interact and learn about collaborative practices, by reducing the influence of the teacher.

The idea of a class as a team ¬†that capitalises on teamwork and encourages interaction among students in a free environment sounded a pretty close approach to that I adopted. The Harkness Table focuses a lot on these concepts, and I’ve found it thrilling. Though the more I read about it, the more the differences emerged.

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January 21, 2013

Connecting the Bricks

Why did I ever get so much into the bricks?

I used to play with LEGO when I was a child, like most children of my generation: my father dreamt of having an Architect daughter one day. He’d never imagined that instead of becoming an Architect and follow his dreams, I’d have kept playing with the bricks my way.

After 4 years of experiments, study and research – mostly done almost hidden in my room on my own – I have just came out and simply have found out that there was another way to delve into the power of LEGO, not as a mere playing toy, but as powerful tool to be used to find out more about ourselves, both as individuals – like the bricks’ based interviews – and as part of ¬†larger, mutually related and dependent organism, with LSP.

The way we talk and think, how we conceptualise the world and the words we use to picture our world, are just bricks of our minds, where material bricks come as a precious aid to better connect our inner thoughts.

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January 7, 2013

Insights on the Method: building models to explore ideas

Hands on Bricks - LegoViews at work

Lego Interviews produce new ideas

LEGO-interviews are an innovative investigative method to delve into reality developed by Patrizia Bertini starting from the basic theoretical principles of constructionism and from a deep knowledge and experience with underlying LEGO¬ģ SERIOUS PLAY¬ģ (LSP).

This interviewing method has been developed to challenge traditional journalism, as an attempt to explore the world through other people’s perception of reality and their views.

Journalistic interviews are generally based on well defined dynamics, on journalists’ capacity and on a constant tension between the interviewer and the interviewees. There is a large literature about this and there are experts who specifically train politicians and influent public people on how to handle and conduct interviews in order to dominate the conversation and to provide a good and safe image of themselves. And there are also a number of books and essays that teach journalists how to make effective interviwes. Everything is codified, recognisable and known.

LEGO-interviews’ challenge is that of radically changing the psychological and relational dynamics between the journalist and the interviewee so that the cognitive processes underlying the interaction are completely different: the interviewer and the interviewee are not anymore opponents but they collaborate, they literally construct the interview together with an original process that produces unexpected contents which most the time surprise the interviewees too.

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September 21, 2012

LegoViews or Legoviews?

Creative processes always require time and the more difficulties and challenges they face, the more the resulting projects are innovative and original.

I have found myself playing around with LSP (Oops, I did it again!) and LegoViews a lot and the newest projects will be shortly revealed.¬†In the meantime, while I am allowed to disclose the very first new initiative I have been working on, I have opened a FaceBook¬†LegoViews‘¬†page: feel free to join!

Recently I have been pointed out that I spell both¬†LegoViews and Legoviews¬†and actually, there’s a reason for this, which might be subtle, but it makes a lot of difference.

LegoViews [LWs] is the Method: LEGO are the tool used to extract Views, to delve into human perceptions and representations, to discover and to create new meanings. It’s a modern maieutic approach based on the constructionist theories, which has been developed from LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. It’s actually my main personal challenge and the result of three years of thinking, testing and learnig by doing.

LegoViews¬†is more than a way to challenge traditional journalism: it’s an attempt to explore the world through other people’s perception of reality and their views of the world. It’s a way to build worlds with words through unusual and different cognitive mechanisms.

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December 24, 2011

A Christmas Carol: LegoViews‚Äô Ghost of an Idea

Getting Ready for the Next Legoviews

Getting Ready for the Next Legoviews

Recently, one of the questions I’ve been asked the most is how did I come up with the idea of LegoViews. So, since it’s Christmas, it’s a good time for stories and here’s the story.

When I’ve started my PhD almost 3 years ago, I was obsessed with my ontological view and spent months trying to find the right approach to tackle my research questions. I ended up embracing Social Constructivism and in particular John Searle’s approach. But once I defined the theoretical framework, I needed to find a research method which were constructive enough and which could help me to highlight how social realities are built.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on methods, did my duties reading books and papers about the traditional methods used in social sciences: survey, interviews, focus groups‚Ķ None of them was fitting enough into my idea ‚Äď I wanted something more challenging and something which could explain and show the processes and which could materialize somehow the construction of social realities.
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December 16, 2011

LegoViews and Socrates’ Midwife

LegoViews Key ideas

According to Wikipedia, “An interview is a conversation between two people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.”

LegoViews (LWs) do not much differ in the aim, though they deeply differ in the cognitive mechanisms they involve and in the process. Most of the best interviews we can think of, realised by investigative journalists, deeply delve topics in an argumentative way and the interview, in most cases, it’s a dialectic and cognitive fight between the interviewer and the interviewee. John Pilger, for instance, and most investigative journalists, are masters in the art of challenging their interviewee and dominate the dialectic fight.

LegoViews are not fights, they are collaborative dialogues, they are conversations.
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