Episode 79 – Michael Fearne | Launch of The LSP Method book!

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In this episode, I welcome back LEGO® Serious Play® expert Michael Fearne, to discuss his new book, The LSP Method. 

Michael is the founder of Pivotal Play, a facilitation consultancy in Melbourne, Australia, where he specialises in the LEGO® Serious Play® method. He works with companies big and small to tackle business problems and make change happen using a playful approach.

LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) is the highlight of this conversation, and we unpack what this incredible tool is and what it can do for individuals, teams & organisations. We also delve into the process of book writing, and Michael’s experience of birthing, his awesome new book, The LSP Method out into the world using Scribe Media.

Key episode highlights include:

  • How LEGO Serious Play (LSP) brings out a deeper level of truth and vulnerability. 
  • How LSP helps unlock answers to questions through play and storytelling, helping people to think and communicate differently.
  • Writing a book isn’t about the money, it’s about the legacy.

    You can discover and buy Michael’s new book, The LSP Method here. Check out Michael’s courses on his website, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Murray Guest  00:01

Michael, welcome to the Inspired Energy podcast. Once again. This is our second conversation. So great to have you back. How’s your week been?


Michael Fearne  00:11

It’s been fantastic. Thanks, Murray. It’s good to be a two time guest on your podcast. The week’s been great, really exciting, you know, lots of fun things happening, released a book about what I do with Lego Serious Play. So yeah, it’s been a whirlwind at the moment, still going.


Murray Guest  00:29

I’ve read the book. And I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the insights out of the book today and the book process. It is a great book. And we’ll make sure there’s a link to the LSP Method in the show notes. Everyone should be checking that out if you’re as passionate about Lego Serious Play as Michael is, and I am. And I was just saying I love I love the book cover. I mean, I love the the bright yellow, it’s got that Lego color and the brick just bouncing out of there. Can I just, before we get into anything else, because I love the cover. How did that come about?


Michael Fearne  01:03

The cover? Yeah, well, it’s interesting. So I guess it dives into a little bit of my perfectionism that I’m trying to sort of rein in a little bit. So the book itself I was, I was getting a company to help me through the process. So all the way from, you know, it’s two years ago, it’s like another world ago, I flew to Texas to do a two day workshop with a whole bunch of other people that kick started this book writing process. And they take you through that, the editing, and we ended up getting to the cover. And yeah, so they had a cover designer, they sent me a few sort of images. And I was just like, No, no, no, no, no. And I did the cardinal sin that no author should ever do, which is try and design their own cover. So perfectionism went into overdrive a little bit there. So I tried to rein that in. And yeah, I ended up with a cover that I’m really happy with. It’s just a simple brick that is interesting. Is it paint splatter, or is it melting? It’s just turning Lego into a different form. So I’m really happy with that. And obviously, what’s inside.


Murray Guest  02:02

Well, I love what you’ve said, there. It’s about turning Lego into a different form, which is what LSP is all about, isn’t it?


Michael Fearne  02:08

Yeah. And that was that was part of it with that that brick image on the front, it’s just reorienting people’s thinking about what Lego is from a child’s toy to, you know, a really useful tool in a meeting, in a class, in a workshop.


Murray Guest  02:21

And for those people that are thinking, hang on, what are they even talking about? What is LSP? What’s your high level definition that you impart to people?


Michael Fearne  02:32

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably good to let people know we’re talking about Lego stuff. Um, so what Lego Serious Play is, the easiest way to understand it is it’s just it’s a method to use in meetings and workshops and classes. So when you’re having a conversation, and what it does is it really, really engages people. So you put some Lego in front of people, you ask them a question, and then they build their answer to that question using Lego and these sort of metaphorical and storytelling techniques. And so what it does in the end is make people think differently. And the follow on from that is they communicate differently. And so you end up with with different conversations in, you know, the the typical meeting that you have, whether it’s online now, or whether it’s in person, it changes that dynamic, and you get some really interesting insights flowing from them.


Murray Guest  03:17

And I love the training I did with you at the start of the year, pre COVID. And I, I believe what I’ve experienced using LSP, in my workshops is a richness of conversation that wouldn’t have happened. So for years, I, you know, been using some of the traditional tools of flip charts and whiteboards, post it notes and things like that. But when we get people playing and building an answer to a question, the richness of the conversation I always find is much deeper and honestly, more valuable.


Michael Fearne  03:47

Yeah, I say it sort of brings more of the whole person to the conversation and to work like this often in business there’s, you know, I call them facades. That sounds harsh, but it is, they are these barriers that we put up about this is the you know, the way we should act in this situation. And I find what Lego Serious Play does, as a method, it breaks that down and in lots of cool ways, whether it’s clay, or whether it’s to do with getting in flow. There’s lots of different cool science underneath. But it’s just about bringing that facade down. And when you see the real human, then you can just be more authentically you. And what flows from that is just as, as a facilitator, it’s mesmerizing. And you know, the cool thing is you get results from it as well. But I just love sitting there and being mesmerized by the stories that I hear. Yeah, that and all that stuff. Interestingly I’ve been doing a bit of reading about this thing called the default mode network which is about that that mind that’s ticking on in the background, it’s all the things you said, Well, you know, how is someone viewing me? What is my manager thinking? What should I be doing? And what Lego Serious Play as a method does, it sort of quietens that down, and it just allows you to be you and be in the moment and allow that creativity that we all have, and just everything to flow out. And so yeah, I love that it has sort of well being and sort of good feelings attached to it, which we don’t often have at work as well. So I love I love all those aspects, from the results to the the feeling that people get when they’re just in it.


Murray Guest  04:30

And I think about Brene Brown’s work about vulnerability and how we through that vulnerability and losing your armor and opening up and building trust. And you’re right, all those judgments that we have about is this the thing I should say, is my manager going to think something, is the other team members going to assess me and all that stuff. Lego Serious Play enables that to drop away much easier, doesn’t it? I’m sure you could share lots of stories that you’ve seen the impact of when you’ve created a space where people are building an answer to a question, and those conversations start. But before you share one, I want to share one, which I haven’t told you about recently, where we’re having a conversation with the team, and we’re talking about, we want you to build what 2020 was like for you. We’re near the end of 2020. So quite a simple, but I’d like to think quite a big question could go a few different ways. And we had some answers from some people on the team where it was building an answer, where it was like, I got to spend more time with my children. And I had this flexibility. And you know, there was this positivity that came out of the changes in 2020. A team member then shared this build that had been created, where their minifigure is surrounded by walls of Lego, and the net over the top. And I felt like I’ve been in a cage and stuck in my home and haven’t been able to connect with other team members. And then the tears started flooding. And it’s this space of openness, vulnerability and truth that came out. Where if I just asked a question, you know, let’s let’s reflect on 2020, we wouldn’t have got there. And I had the hair standing up on my arms. And this moment of, wow, this just shows how powerful this process is to then open up so honestly, so rapidly and authentically for the team members to get Okay, let’s talk about this. And it was it was so great.


Michael Fearne  07:11

I love that. So, so good to hear like, that’s what I love. It’s like, that’s part of the reason why I do what I do is to firstly be in the room to see those and to sort of set the stage for that to happen. But to hear what you just said like other people are doing that as well. Like I get the hairs standing up on my arm and things like that. Just hearing that story, because I remember that sort of thing happening in my workshops, too. And, yeah, I think the speed with which it happens, which you mentioned is just amazing. It just, whether it’s the Lego, the way you set it all up. It’s just, you just never get to those conversations. And yeah, examples I’ve had, I’ve had, like, probably in seven years, I’ve had easily over 10 people crying in workshops in a good way, like in a sort of cathartic, you know, I’m heard, I’m listened to, and I move through it. And that’s just hugely powerful on a, like an individual level. Yeah, I loved hearing that.


Murray Guest  08:03

Yeah. And in in the book, and we’ll talk about your book in a minute, you do talk about the applications of LSP are so big and broad. And it’s not just something that we do in corporate, it can be used in so many different areas. Which, again, is because we’re creating this space for these powerful conversations and deep conversations.


Michael Fearne  08:25

Yeah, and it’s interesting where Lego Serious Play started, like it started as this not just the business world, but like a strategy tools, I think of like the C suite, and you know, late 90s, everyone with their, you know, the old white guy with a tie. And you know, and it’s fascinating to see how it’s cascading down now. And like, while I wrote the book to be aimed at a more business and corporate audience, like I’m saying people in academia and universities, like high school teachers and primary school teachers, like I had them in mind with this book, and, you know, therapy and community engagement. And just, there’s so many spaces outside of the business world that it’s, it’s slowly cascading down to.


Murray Guest  09:03

Yeah. Which again, you think about some of the elements that we’ve talked about in our previous conversation around, you know, that kinesthetic learning and play and having fun and, you know, the learnings being locked in through all those, you know, applies to all those areas.


Michael Fearne  09:19

Yeah different people, different topics. Yeah, the base of the method is so flexible. I’m fascinated to see where it goes over the next 10 years.


Murray Guest  09:29

So am I and I’ll be keep talking to you and finding your progress. Because your book is I’m sure going to project you even bigger in the world of Lego Serious Play, which is fantastic. So my wife wrote a book a few years ago, and she said, it’s like having a baby. This build up and then the birthing and ohh it’s done. How do you relate to that analogy?


Michael Fearne  09:58

Well, I relate to it on two fronts. It is definitely I’m feeling I have felt that but it’s also my, my wife is pregnant and were like, she’s 34 weeks, we’re six weeks away. So it’s like there’s lots of birds going, I’ll be able to compare it exactly. To the actual process. But yeah, it’s um, it’s been a long time coming like in terms of…


Murray Guest  10:20

The gestation period has been a couple of years.


Michael Fearne  10:23

It has. Well, yeah, it sort of goes back to when I started with Lego Serious Play and even just facilitation. But really seven years ago, when I sort of came across the method and, and again, it was in a book, there was the inventor, Johan Roos, wrote a book from 2006 just his early, sort of inklings of the method. And that’s really sparked off my interest. And then sort of seven years later, I’ve written a book, based on his methods, you know, with all the twists and turns from the last seven years in my experience, so yeah, it’s been a long time. The actual writing process I started in probably April 2019. It was when I went over to Texas to do that. And what was fascinating when I first started writing, it was, you know, we’re running a lot of computers now, like run a lot of online calls and all sorts of stuff. And I started trying to type it out just in Word, and there was so many distractions. So what I did was I just got a pen, and I got these cool little notepads. And I just wrote it out by hand. And so I wrote about 40,000 words, just with pen and paper. And I remember sitting on the bus, like I decided to catch buses back then, pre pandemic, to the coworking space where I was working. And I remember just sitting there and it would just flow out, it was such a feeling of flow, because, you know, I, I’d been running sessions, I’d been training people in it, and it was just this. It’s almost like the muse, you’re just getting it out. And yeah, the hand was a bit sore by the end of it, and I had to then type it all into a computer, but it sort of felt apt for you know, what was very hands on method to write it.


Murray Guest  11:55

Was there anything that that you found in that writing process that really helped that getting in the zone, and the flow and it coming out? 


Michael Fearne  12:04

I think a couple of things. It’s interesting, the process, they call it the vomit draft. Yeah. So it’s literally getting everything out. Like don’t censor yourself. And it’s so that you, and it’s good to do with the creative process as well, you just get it out, and then you can edit, then you can mold it into something after that. But you start censoring yourself and editing and checking and thinking too much about it, then you know, you never get there. And so to get into that, that permission to just write down crap, just vomit, just put it all out is is so freeing. I think that was the thing that really helped helped to just get it out.


Murray Guest  12:43

Yeah, let go, and that perfectionism you mentioned at the start with your book cover, I can imagine back then when you’re writing, thinking about Oh, how do I say this? Or how am I going to frame this up? But just going put that to the side. And my friend Paul, who’s an artist coach, he talks about putting the critic in the corner, and just just doing it.


Michael Fearne  13:02

Yeah, yeah, totally. And I think with the, there’s plenty of time for the critic later, like there’s editing, there’s all sorts of stuff that you can do that to bring back in that perfectionism. You know, or that that attention to detail, but there’s there’s times to, to really just let it go and be creative. And then times to pull it back. Yeah, it’s um, I think I think, you know, being being creative or getting things done is about flipping between these modes, and really finding when, you know, not getting caught in the perfectionist mode, or, you know, if later on when I’m editing and proofreading if you’re just in the flow, then you miss a lot of stuff. And so it’s it’s being able to switch and getting the help if you realize that you can’t, you know, hiring someone to help you do that sort of stuff.


Murray Guest  13:46

I’ve heard when people are writing a book, they think about who they’re writing the book for. Did you think about writing this book for yourself?


Michael Fearne  13:56

No I didn’t. I didn’t, it wasn’t for myself, because it’s a really, really good question. Because the thing that that catches a lot of people to start with a lot of things is like, Who’s it for? And what level of detail do I need to go through? And there’s always fears that come up as well. Like, for me, it was how will I be viewed by some of the other sort of respected people in in my world. So as people who had written books, people who are doing training in Lego Serious Play, some of the fathers of the method, like how would they view me like I had all these things going in my mind. And they were sort of blocks. And a big part of doing a book on this process is getting that out, like getting those fears aside and realizing who I’m writing this for. So who I was writing it for, I had a very particular person who was actually someone who came along to training a few years ago. And I said, you’re the person I’m writing it for, because you’re emblematic of like everyone that I want to read it. And I left out you know, some stuff, not because I wanted to hold it back, but because it wasn’t useful for that person. Um, so there’s a couple of things in Lego Serious Play that are very narrow, like the really strategic use of it. Like in strategies like a two day workshop, and I’m thinking I could put that in. And I’m sure the, you know, I would, I would show myself to be smart to the other sort of, you know, senior people in the Lego Serious Play world. But I’m like, Who cares? That’s not who I’m writing it for writing for that person, and what do they need? And they don’t need that. So I’ll cut it out. And so I mean, it ended up still like a 300 page book, it could have been like, 1000 pages, like it’s that complex. But you just got to keep paring it back. My mantra was make it easy, make it accessible. Think of that person and keep writing for them.


Murray Guest  15:33

And has that person seen the book?


Michael Fearne  15:35

I don’t know actually, I haven’t told her that she was the avatar. But I thought I had it in my mind. So it’s sort of the, you know, the corporate, she’s, you know, she’s in the corporate world. But she’s an innovator as pushing the boundaries a little bit slightly unsure, but, you know, willing to try something new. And so yeah, all these characteristics, and we go, I went through a process of writing this person’s, you know, psychographics, demographics, all of that down. But no, she doesn’t know. I should send her an email.


Murray Guest  16:04

Yeah, fantastic. And I think there’s something about that acknowledgement, isn’t there. And I’ve done that over the past couple of years, reaching out to some past managers and acknowledging them for the impact they had. And I’m just wondering what that might look like for you of saying, hang on, here’s a copy of the book. And thank you.


Michael Fearne  16:22

Yeah, totally. And even even in the book as well, like acknowledgments, like thinking about who to acknowledge, like, I’m so aware that I, you know, it’s the whole standing on the shoulders of giants, like we literally, and let’s not just say with Lego Serious Play where someone invented it, someone helped develop it, I learned it, and then I sort of added to it. But I’m really appreciative of just everything in this world, like, someone invented clothes a while back. Like I’m living off that invention, and everything that I look around in my room, and like someone that sort of human history has been this, this progression of people innovating, and we’re the beneficiaries of it, like everything. And, you know, I’m so thankful for that, even in the small world of Lego Serious Play.


Murray Guest  17:06

Earlier this year, I was going to see a client, and I was opening my backpack to get something out. And I went, who invented zippers, zippers are awesome. They’re everywhere. And I just had this moment of appreciation for zippers and how good they are.


Michael Fearne  17:21

Yeah exactly. These almost everything. Oh, my god, there’s so many things that I’m just thankful for. You know, you want to acknowledge people, you know, that are important and have helped you and but really, it’s, it’s almost like the entirety of human history has helped to where we are. And so I sort of have that gratitude within me. And yeah, it is nice to verbalize it to, you know, some key people, but also know that it’s..


Murray Guest  17:54

So, Michael, you mentioned fear. And I think about and I had actually Kristin Ulmer, who was known as the world’s most fearless person, or female, she was an extreme skier recently on the podcast, fantastic conversation. But I think about when you mentioned fear about that fear people have of putting themselves out there and that, you know, we fear public speaking more than death. And then you think writing a book is like public speaking, putting myself out there. How did you manage that process, work through that?


Michael Fearne  18:33

Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s one of the biggest things we all face, like it’s the little self talk about judgment of others. And you mentioned Brene Brown before, like that, quote, from the start, about the sort of man in the stadium like that was the one sort of there fighting and the blood and the sweat and, like, I’d rather just be that person and just go down in flames, if it’s if that’s the way like, that’s my motto is, it’s just, you’re there. It’s not the critic, it’s not the person judging. It’s the one that’s actually on the playing field. It’s striving and failing and coming up short, and, you know, not being timid and things like that. So that story, I know it’s not hers, but that had a big impact on me. And I think I’m fortunate in the respects that I’m, I’m very much an introvert. So I like my own sort of company. And that’s where I get my energy from, even though I go out and I do quite an extroverted job as a facilitator. But I think I’ve found this nice balance between I care what people think, but I also don’t care. It’s important, but it’s also you know, if there’s critics, then that’s, that’s their thing. I guess it’s having that strong sort of self worth, self identity, self esteem, and, you know, the others, if they don’t like my stuff, I’m happy to find people that do and value it and use it and all that. So yeah, it’s um, it’s been a long process, but it’s understanding your own identity in mind and your place in it all.


Murray Guest  20:05

Yeah, I can connect with what you’re saying. And I feel like I’ve become a better facilitator over the years with letting go of those judgments or fears. And just showing up as my authentic self, which then we connect with people when they’re their true self. So I feel like that’s helped me. I still, obviously, do think about it at times and worry about it. Because, you know, we go through ups and downs. But you know, when I come back to that, and going, Okay, this is me, and how can I show up as the best version of me, that does help me I know. I’m wondering, back to your book process, the the process you went through and the people that you partner with to help get your book out. Is there any specific techniques or tips that they gave you to help process this as well? And process the fears?


Michael Fearne  20:51

Yeah, totally, they did, that they have a whole fear sort of activity that they do. And what’s great, I’ll let you know that the company is called Scribe Media, Scribe Writing. And what’s really interesting is, they just put out all their stuff for free, like, literally, there’s a book which has their entire process in it, you can go to their website, and they have a school where you can just do everything. And they then you know, you then which is what I did you go through their paid program, if you want to get extra help, and editing and proofreading, and you know, weekly accountability calls and all that sort of stuff, but they just put all this stuff out there. And so yeah, there’s a whole bunch of tips that feel free to check them out. But, you know, they go through that fear identifying process, and to help you work through that. And also about what you know, what you want to get out of it. Like, you know, in this day and age, you don’t make money from books, like if you want to make money, don’t write a book. That’s the big thing. So for me, they they get you to identify, well, why are you writing the book? And for me, you know, part of it’s legacy, like I want to, you know, the best thing was, I got some books delivered to my house just before the book launch. I opened it up, I got one and I and the first one I gave was to my four year old daughter, I said, this is this is for you. Yeah, she’s in there, for my partner and my daughter. And so to me, that legacy of just putting something in the world and knowing that it will continue, much like kids, having kids, you know, legacy, but there’s also, you know, getting that information in in front of people so that they can use so that your impact can be wider. So I think it’s identifying what impact you want to make in the world with whatever project you’re doing, and really getting clear on that. And, you know, for a lot of it, if you focus on money or that sort of success, you know, that’s a harder road. And it’s not as a satisfying road, if that’s your measure of success, that flows later on. But yeah, so that was a really interesting process to go through where to start as well.


Murray Guest  22:46

Yeah. And I really appreciate you sharing that you are working with Scribe and Scribe Media. And we’ll make sure there’s some links so that people might want to check that out as well. So when you look at your book, is there’s some sections that you’re more proud of? Or is this something that you just read or you look at and you go, Wow, I’m so glad that’s in there.


Michael Fearne  23:08

Oh, yeah. interesting. Well, the first line is pretty hilarious. I have to say, so I probably should share that with the audience. So yeah, when I first met my brother in law’s, and there was five of them. And they just had no like, they’re like, what is this lego thing he does this can’t like this can’t be a real job. And they actually thought I was a drug dealer. They thought I was carrying around giant bags of Lego, and, you know, internationally, and thought I was some kingpin of, you know, some international crime syndicate, because it just was so ridiculous what I did. So I’m quite proud of the start of the book. But I think in general, it’s practical and just it’s all very how-to, very tactical, there’s just like every little little twist, little turn that I’ve done over the last seven years, and not even just from me, but from what I’ve learned as well from other people. I love that that’s in there. So it’s very tactical, in terms of, you know, do this, do this. But if you want, you know, to vary it I’m really proud of the level that I’m proud of the people that helped as well, like, there’s a chapter on the people, some other facilitators, and they sort of pop in throughout the book to add their little tips, which I think is good.


Murray Guest  24:20

Yeah I really liked that section, because you’ve got different facilitators from around the world about how they use Lego Serious Play, what’s their insight, which brings in some different, you know, perspectives and knowledge and I think some ideas for other people as well.


Michael Fearne  24:35

Yeah, I was really excited to get that in there and have them sort of come back throughout the book with little tips here and there. I’m actually thinking the next book was just going to be me working with a whole bunch of facilitators like a chapter on, you know, with Murray about how you use it and a chapter with other people about how they use it, because that’s what I’m learning is, you know, this base level information is great, but it is about how people are using, it’s about community. It’s about sharing that and, you know, I’ve started to realize that, particularly with what’s happening with the pandemic, how important community is and sharing and I’m being open. And so yeah, I’m proud of that. And you know, that’s probably gonna be featured in whatever I do in the future.


Murray Guest  25:10

I heard that, at the time of recording here, that book two is on its way.


Michael Fearne  25:15

Oh, yeah, I’ve actually got the topics lined up for the next three books. I don’t know when I’ll get to it. But yeah, there’s there’s plenty now that the base information for Lego Serious Play is just out there in this book, like, I feel like it was, it was held back a lot like it was the last 10 years has been a model of scarcity, where, you know, the, the information has been sort of protected, and you needed to sort of find a way to get it. And the thing I love about the book is it just says, look, here’s all the information, at least according to me, and let’s, let’s build on top of that, and, you know, as soon as you write a book, it’s out of date, like, you know, I’m hoping in the next 10 years that it’ll get updated. And you know, with all the new stuff that people have done.


Murray Guest  25:54

So is there a bit of a creativity flow that’s now happened, where this as you were doing this book and getting it out, it’s like, Ah, this idea of the next one, this idea for the next one. Was that sort of happening?


Michael Fearne  26:04

Totally, so the next book, there’s one chapter in the book, which talks about sort of example sessions, and then another chapter in the book, which talks about other people and what they’re doing and for the next book just wants to be an expansion of that. It wants to be okay, let’s take this topic and really explode into a chapter and dive into how people are using it like this, and another chapter on this sort of topic. And so almost like the recipe, not the recipes, but the different different areas, which, you know, I didn’t devote as much time as I wanted to in the first book, because, you know, you got to draw a line somewhere. And now, yeah, there’s that. And then I’m fascinated by the theoretical and the scientific underpinnings of Lego Serious Play, I think that’s going to be the third book, just diving deep into that. And I’ve just started exploring Lego Serious Play in virtual reality. So I think that’s going to be the fourth book to see, you know, what that might look like.


Murray Guest  26:53

We had a really good online session, I remember early this year about bringing those elements of play to the online learning. Obviously, there’s been a big pivot this year with zoom and online facilitation. And I just loved that that session we had about, okay, how can you bring some of that to the online sessions, and I’ve done some of that with and had some interaction. And I know some other people doing some interesting things was sending Lego out to people. But like you were explaining to me at the time, you can bring the, let’s say, the foundation of the approach of what we’re talking about to other things in your house and that facilitation as well.


Michael Fearne  27:29

Yeah, yeah. I mean, doesn’t have to be Lego, it works really well. But I think it’s a it’s like a mindset, and it is some of those underlying principles. And, you know, we’re doing a lot in the online world. So I’m hopeful in 2021, they’ll, you know, more people around the world, we’re very fortunate in Australia that will hopefully get back to some face to face stuff, maybe sooner than others, like they are doing in New Zealdn at the end of the month. And the rest of the world will hopefully follow with its vaccines and you know, all sorts of stuff, but the online world and like I said, I’m interested in virtual reality and other stuff like that, that’s still going to have a place. But I’m looking forward to getting back in the room. And yeah, running a few more sessions, I have to say.


Murray Guest  28:04

Yeah, well, I know what I’m doing with some clients at the moment of blended approach. So we’re doing some face to face and some online, and how we can create a program where it’s embracing this different way of working, and then the face to face, I think is going to have more value, because it’s like, we’re getting together face to face now.


Michael Fearne  28:24



Murray Guest  28:25

Yeah. The other thing, I’m wondering, do you have any hopes for your book? Like what’s a hope for your book?


Michael Fearne  28:36

My hope for the book is that it’s, it sort of becomes the not the de facto standard, but the first book that people go to, like they want to learn Lego Serious Play. And if people are still interested in reading books, and that’s the way they like to learn, then grab this one, because it’s got everything you need. And I think that’s the hope is that, that the information within it will just spread. Like I love hearing that story you said before, you know that you came along to my training, you got some information, you applied it, you had a fantastic experience, and you helped someone and, you know, there was another one from a lady who’s up in Queensland who’s doing Lego Serious Play with, you know, people in what’s called the Global South. So things like East Timor, and community programs there. And I just love hearing that. So I’m just fascinated. There’s a guy in Uganda that I was just chatting with the other day, and he’s starting to apply in his startup co working space. And I just love those stories. Like that’s what I love. That’s what I get a real kick out of. And so that’s my hope for the book is that people just around the world will start doing more Lego Serious Play and, and we can move past it being this sort of exclusive type activity to really start to build on top of it and really progress it and innovate with it.


Murray Guest  29:49

I look forward to seeing some photos of people reading the book on public transport or in the middle of nowhere and you’re like, Ah, there’s my book and someone’s reading it.


Michael Fearne  29:59

Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, now that it’s out, and I, my big aim is just to get it into people’s hands and like we’re chatting a little while back, it’s not like you make huge money from a book, you really don’t, it’s just the impact you want in the world. And books are just one way to do it. And so sort of, you know, it’s a big effort to, and I spent a bit of money to get all my information to a book, but just the payoff is, just the excitement of seeing where people take it.


Murray Guest  30:27

I’m just thinking about what else you think might happen, like the future of Lego Serious Play? Do you have any thoughts about where that may go? You talked about your excitement of understanding the different applications and how people are using it. Do you have any thoughts about where this may look in the future? What it might look like as well?


Michael Fearne  30:47

Yeah, yes, I’ve had this vision probably for maybe three or four years now, once I really started thinking about and once I got comfortable with the method, had this vision in my mind that in sort of every office, in every school, just in every space, there’s literally like a bag of Lego over there. And people know how to do Lego Serious Play. And when they’re having a conversation, they’ll sit down, they go, you know what, Murray, I think we need to get the Lego and just change this conversation, let’s get it, we know how to do it, let’s just build it, it’s almost like a self service, you know, let’s just almost like a post it note a whiteboard, the Legos there, we know how to do Lego Serious Play, let’s use it to have a better conversation. There will always be places for the experts in terms of, you know, sort of bringing an external facilitator in because there’s, there’s certain things that we do in terms of, you know, allowing the group, you know, to the idea of an external facilitator is that you are helping that process. And so they’ll always be, you know, sort of space for us to come in, but I just see it at a lower level, just everyone using it themselves. And I mean in the end, I’d love to just be out of a job, honestly, like it was like everyone does Lego Serious Play. And you know, they they have that information. And that’s decades off. But that’s sort of the dream is, is just sort of ubiquitous use of it in the right moment. Like it’s not for every conversation, but for the right moment, the right conversation, we know how to do it, let’s grab the Lego. And let’s get some value out of it.


Murray Guest  32:13

Yeah, yeah, I love that vision of it just being there. And as you said, people being self driven, because they know, when they bring that to the table, how it’s going to enhance the conversation and take it to another place. Yeah. And and that vision could be playing out anywhere. Because it’s applicable to us as humans having those conversations.


Michael Fearne  32:37

Families, like people running it with families, and like, I’d love to see it in more in therapy as well, where people are actually externalizing, you know, what’s happening internally within them, which is essentially what the method is, is just getting what’s in your mind out to chat about it. And so whether it’s, whether it’s corporate, whether it’s, you know, sort of therapeutic type environments, whether it’s educational, which I think is still huge uses there as well. Lots of green space, or blue sky or whatever metaphor you want to use.


Murray Guest  33:06

Yellow space.


Michael Fearne  33:09

Shaped like a brick…


Murray Guest  33:11

Yeah. So just to wrap up today’s conversation. There’s been some weird baby names this year. Michael, I don’t know if you’ve seen there was actually, I did see a story about a Covid or a Corona in some areas.


Michael Fearne  33:28

Okay, wow that’s a brave choice.


Murray Guest  33:31

It is. Have you spoken to your wife about any potential Lego related baby names?


Michael Fearne  33:39

Um, what’s interesting on baby names, so our approach to naming children that seem to work well, for the first one, is to do a bit of research, have a bit of a shortlist and then and wait to see who they are. So we’ve got six weeks from when they’re born to when we have to actually give them an official name. We took all that six weeks with our first child. So that’s the sort of process we go through. But it probably won’t be anything to do with Lego or..


Murray Guest  34:03

I didn’t think so.


Michael Fearne  34:04

No, what’s interesting with like, I think I’ve mentioned before, like, I’m not the hugest fan of Lego like, I don’t dislike it, but I’m not like, you know, when when this conversation ends, I’m not going to go and build with Lego and things like that. It’s, it’s, I love what it does. And I think it’s fine if you love Lego, and you want to bring that into work, it’s fine if you hate Lego, and you just want to use it for, you know, this method for the conversation. So it’s, um, it’s funny in our household we have, we’re sending our kids to a Steiner school. So there’s lots of wood, and then suddenly, there’s all these bright plastic in the room, which is pretty hilarious.


Murray Guest  34:35

Yeah, gotcha. And I was not expecting a Lego child name. I was just putting that out there. But actually interesting I think your process is very similar to ours, with my wife where, here’s a few names, but who is this person that’s been brought into this world and, you know, because then that’s a different perspective that maybe we didn’t even think of because this person is you know, that person.


Michael Fearne  35:04

Yeah, you want to meet them.


Murray Guest  35:05



Michael Fearne  35:06

I have to say on the Lego stuff. I do say ‘awesome’ a lot more now since I started using Lego for work, almost every email there’s an awesome in there and I have found it seeping into my vocabulary a lot more. So it’s obviously getting in at the DNA level.


Murray Guest  35:20

Yep, yep. Well, it’s funny I was not a Lego person. I don’t think we even had Lego growing up. It’s the sort of thing that that wasn’t in our house. I don’t think we had the money for it at the time when I was a child, but we do have it now. But a bit like you, I love what it creates and space. And I do a bit of building on the side. But I’m not I’m not a I’m not going to be on brick master or anything like that. That is not not my path in life, that’s for sure. Yeah, mate, thank you so much for your time, I would definitely make sure there’s links to your program, to the book, to Scribe learning, it was just so good to read through the book, to read the information you’re sharing, the openness and it’s such a practical book, there’s so much value in there for anyone that’s intrigued about Lego Serious Play, if they’re an existing facilitator, or they have done the training and they want to just help it help them with some reference to it as well. So congratulations on a fantastic book.


Michael Fearne  36:25

Thank you Murray, much appreciated. Just for everyone out there, like it took a couple of years to do it. But I plugged away, small steps and whatever process whether it’s the book, whether it’s you know, course or whatever you’re doing, it’s just, you just keep at it. Like you know, any psychological barriers that come along, you knock them down and you keep going and you know what, it works out in the end you just keep going.


Murray Guest  36:45

I’ve got a couple of half written books and you’ve inspired me to take some action get into those. So thank you so much, Michael, and all the best for the next few weeks with a new being in the in the house. And I hope that goes fan- awesome – I hope it goes awesome.


Michael Fearne  37:04

It will, I’m excited.


Murray Guest  37:05

Yeah. Thanks again, Michael.


Michael Fearne  37:06



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