Dr Stephen Dann is a Senior Lecturer in the Research School of Management, College of Business and Economics at the Australian National University. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK), and recipient of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference Emerging Educator award, the College of Business and Economics Education Innovation award and the Australian National University Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. He is also a Certified Lego® Serious Play™ Facilitator, having run sessions in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Leadership can often be conflated with hierarchy. By trade, academics often exist in vertically structured environments, differentiated by letters in job titles (Level B, C, D and E), with authority flowing from a vertical location which enforces hierarchy by default, approach to academic life. With leadership being more than ranks and organizational chart, teaching contemporary leadership practice in the classroom requires unlearning our workplace practice to engage in new methods of experiential leadership teaching. One approach is based on the adaptation of the Lego® Serious Play™ facilitation methodology to the classroom. LSP was developed by the Lego Corporation to generate a new leadership environment to solve problems through shared understanding and establish processes to unlock the knowledge in the room through flattened leadership where shares of voice were equalized, and contributions enabled from voices that were often silent in vertically focused organizations. The LSP process enables the development of participatory leadership skills through active listening, proactive sense-making, and levelling the playing fields (with an emphasis on play) in story sharing environments. This panel will discuss how to adapt a commercially focused facilitation framework into a pedagogically driven, leadership enabling process that can lead by doing, sharing and showing contemporary leadership practice in a safe facilitated environment.