Priming for Change

Denice Scala
Leadership and Learning Consultant
"Play is our brain's favourite way of learning." (Daine Ackerman) Give your head a hand to make change happen with the awesome power of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
Target Audience
Staff in leadership positions, staff responsible for any change initiatives: Team leaders, Heads of Faculty, Deputies, Principals

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

A common complaint from teachers is that change happens ‘to’ them rather than ‘with’ them. Participants in this workshop will get ‘hands on’ to solve the age old problem of how to manage change. Using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® participants will delve into the deeper questions about how to prepare for a success in a change initiative.


Staff in leadership positions, staff responsible for any change initiatives: Team leaders, Heads of Faculty, Deputies, Principals

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

It’s a facilitated communication and problem-solving method. Participants build his or her own 3D model in response to carefully crafted questions using specially selected LEGO® bricks. These models serve as the basis for group discussions, shared knowledge, problem solving and decision making. It draws on extensive research from the fields of psychology, organizational development, learning and business and is based on the concept of 'hand knowledge'

What makes it effective?
• Deeper & broader thinking in less time
• More effective learning for everyone
• Faster & better decisions

What’s the philosophy?

What’s the philosophy?

• Leaders don’t have all the answers. The success is dependent on heating all the voices
• People naturally want to contribute, be part of something bigger and take ownership
• Allowing all staff to contribute and speak out results in a more sustainable change model
• All too often, teams work sub-optimally, leaving team member knowledge untapped.
• We live in a world, which can best be described as complex and adaptive.

These core beliefs of the methodology developed though ‘hand knowledge’ are explored by taking participants through a facilitated workshops that poses challenging questions with no obvious or immediate answer. The construction of models using LEGO bricks are then used for storytelling with metaphors. This is where the deeper understanding emerges. This new leaning is shared amongst participants before moving to reflection and a commitment to action back in the workplace.

Why is it a good idea to use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?

It’s a good idea because the format
creates a level playing field where everyone is involved and able to contribute their knowledge, have honest dialogue and collaborative conversations, place importance on no one person dominating at the expense of others for example by pursuing a personal agenda

It’s a good idea because the subject of change is:
complex and multifaceted with no clear answers, about grasping the big picture, seeing connections and exploring various options and potential solutions, ever present in schools and this workshop will be unique in the way it offers participants the opportunity, in a safe environment to explore the difficult components of taking their staff on a change jourrney from small to significant initiatives.

In essence the methodology will bring the complexity of change initiatives to life so participants leave with a deeper understanding of how to manage the process more effectively for better outcomes with staff.

This course contributes to 6.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Face to Face - Individual in Australia (NSW) at this time.


Towering over Change

1 hour and 20 minutes

Opening; 10 mins- welcome, intros, ground rules for a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshops
Skill Building: 60 mins- Take participants though preliminary activities to get them comfortable to build and create a ‘safe’ space for exploration. They will build a tower, build a model using instructions then they will modify an aspect of their model to tell a story about what energises them about change this introduces the concept of metaphor and the power of storytelling.

When change goes wrong

2 hours

Construction: The nightmare change project
Now it’s time to really dive into the power of ‘hand knowledge’ I will invite participants to build the nightmare change model. this encourages participants to go beyond reality and set their imagination free and take it to the extreme. It’s not about being realistic, it;s about pushing the boundaries (as all change initiatives do) I’ll invite participants to go ahead and explore the traits, values, competencies, and characteristics of the nightmare change they are building. I want them to be in 'flow'

Sharing: Your nightmare change project
Participants are now invited to share their nightmare change project by describing what they have built. It’s important to set the right tome here by shaping good questions and allowing the group to take the lead on who should go first. We keep the playful atmosphere by moving to discussion on extremes.

Reflection: Your nightmare Change project
This akin to facilitating 'mediation at arm’s length' as people now start to fully understand what they have stuck in their heads about change. I will talk about story making, how our brains are meaning making machines that look for narratives and love emotions.

We hear everyone’s story and acknowledge what they bring to the sharing. It’s the model we question to draw out the themes.

Building a shared model:
Using a red brick, participants are now asked to identify the core/most important part of their model for the group. They place the red brick on this part of the model. then we hear everyone’s story making about the core part of the nightmare change project. after hearing everyone’s story, the group negotiates part of their individual models into a shared model. In this way, the most important parts of the nightmare change project are collected together.

A volunteer from the group now tells the collective, shared model story.

I will check-in with the group to see they are happy with the re-telling and if so progress to another retelling. If not. invite the model maker to ‘correct’ the language used. this is how participants start to understand what matters to key players(essential in any change project) The aim is to have very participant share their story before we break for lunch

Barriers to Changing

1 hour

Creating a Landscape
This is the method I will use to build meaning amongst the participants by using the nightmare models they have constructed to identify the barriers that prevent us from achieving perfect change processes.

Having identified the barriers, we will then create a new model to show what they will stop doing and what they will start doing when they return to their schools.

I can see clearly now.......

10 minutes

Complete a pledge card using the Stop, Start, Change, continue method

What To Bring

An open mind and a willingness to experience ‘hard fun’

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About the team

Denice Scala


Denice Scala

Denice Scala is an executive leader with extensive experience in key strategic roles requiring business transformation and innovation.

As a passionate advocate for the power of education to enrich lives, Denice moved from classroom teaching to leadership positions in 1992 and since then has held international roles as Principal, Head of Junior School, and Head of Learning Support. She has an impressive working knowledge of early childhood, primary, middle, and secondary schooling including gifted education and special needs. Denice’s unparalleled grasp of current educational realities is equally matched by her ability to implement improvement strategies. She is recognised as a visionary leader of leaders with in-depth experience across education, strategy, operations, finance, people development, technology, and marketing.

Established in 2016, her creative leadership and learning company, Denice Scala Consulting is unique. The cornerstone is designing and delivering adult learning for today’s ever changing world that’s contemporary, creative and performance orientated. Focused on inspiring growth with dynamic leadership solutions, Denice works with clients to create new ideas, shape strategic direction, and develop staff. Working across different industries, she designs bespoke professional development strategies, crafts leadership resources and motivates employees to re-think the way they do what they do to add value to their organisations.

Applying holistic, innovative solutions incorporating her expertise in neuroscience, MBTI® and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, Denice combines cutting edge trends, the power of playful learning and her compelling communication skills to drive high levels of engagement and grow personal and professional performance.

She also advises on business development, school improvement, career advancement and parenting needs.

Don’t just ‘go’ through life, ‘grow’ through life is her driving philosophy. Her unwavering commitment to delivering quality service and personalised solutions is second to none.