A few months ago, I read with interest the linkedIncontribution of Carlo Spellucci from Italy about a 600+ participant conference with doctors using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method. I am too interested in exploring the opportunities and boundaries of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method.

Therefore, I would like to share my recent experience with a group of customers/tenants of a social Housing organisation in the Netherlands.

Special about this group of ten people was not the number of participants, but the age. They were between 75 and 85 years old.

All living in the same building block. The Housing organisation invited them to explore how they experience living there and what issues they would like to address and put on the agenda of the Housing organisation.

Preparing this workshop, I was a bit worried.

Would they be able to handle the little bricks? Should I adjust the material? Would they be able to stay focused for a couple of hours? What time to start, taking into account that some participants need assistance from a nurse in the early morning?

What happened? 

They just did it! On the spot, I made a few adjustments. I lowered the speed; allowing them more time for building the model. After the skills building (the first fase of the workshop in which people get confident with the method) I put the boxes with extra bricks on the table so they could stay seated.

More than in other groups I realized that everyone participates within his or her physical and mental possibilities; respecting every contribution to the conversation. Knowing that not only what was said, but all that was visible at the table provided valuable insights to the housing organisation and themselves.

The brick they took home

At the end of the workshop I asked them to reflect on the conversation. “What brick represents this morning and would you like to take with you?”, I asked.

  • They said they had never thought they would engage into serious play – but they did.
  • They had fun and kept focus for three hours (the cake)!
  • They were all engaged in the conversation; that had never happened before (the monkey).
  • Although some people were neighbours for 8 years, they shared stories and agitation’s they didn’t dare to share before (the crown).

The result of the workshop was not only the agenda of housing issues. They also opened up communication with eachother and with the employees of the Housing organisation, forming a new base for collaboration on the discussed housing issues.

One man said – and it really touched me –

“growing old is about continuoulsly losing things; people and things you cannot do anymore, but today – with a big smile – I have learned something new”.

 

Your thoughts, questions and remarks after reading this article are appreciated!

Elisan Henderickx

Playful workshop and procesfacilitator at Sprankelend samenwerken in the Netherlands

Please contact me: elisan@sprankelend-samenwerken.nl | +31644179556 | www.sprankelend-samenwerken.nl

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