Lego Serious Play workshop – much more than child’s play!
By Lisa Kelland
July 25, 2017
When Flint Studios heard that Olenick were bringing the Lego Serious Play workshop to Digital DNA 2017, they made it their mission to track them down and get involved…
Lego… for grown ups
The Lego Serious Play concept was created in Switzerland more than 20 years ago by two professors, Johan Roos and Bart Victor, and Lego Group CEO and owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
While exploring alternative strategic planning systems, the trio developed a methodology for understanding employees’ critical thinking and problem solving processes by using Lego elements as three-dimensional models of the issues and challenges faced by businesses.
Getting to grips
Our workshop was delivered by Alan Branagh from the Insight Factory.
When all the participants had arrived, Alan spent the first part of the allotted time chatting to each of us and trying to understand our career/business backgrounds, what interested us about Lego Serious Play, and what our expectations for the workshop were; with the conversations also serving as an icebreaker to find out a bit more about your fellow participants.
We were then presented with a ziplock bag containing an assortment of Lego pieces.
The pieces appeared to be a mismatch of random Lego blocks, with pieces of various widths, lengths, shapes, and even a female Lego figurine thrown in for good measure.
We soon came to learn however that there was method in the madness and that the pieces were far from just chosen at random.
Now for the hard part of Lego
Finally, it was on to our first challenge.
Alan’s brief was to use your blocks to build the tallest structure you possibly could, with an addendum that the Lego figurine must be placed at the top.
We were given 10 minutes to produce something and quickly got stuck in. After Alan had called time, we each took it in turns to explain the thought process which went into our building.
Various people offered well-thought out rationales, ranging from building wide bases to establish a strong foundation for the building, to making the structure as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
After going around the table, Alan reminded us of the brief, and asked us to choose which structure met the requirements. After much deliberation, we concluded that it was a close choice between two structures, one being my own offering.
Alan’s lesson from this challenge was to emphasise the importance of listening to clients’ briefs. All too often in business, we don’t listen properly and use of own interpretation of what we think the client wants. Instead, in order to be successful, we need to listen carefully to what our clients are asking for, and deliver on their requirements to the best of our abilities.
The second challenge proved a lot less straightforward.
Alan asked us to build something which was a metaphor for politics or government. Unlike the first challenge, there was a collective hesitation to jump head-first into this task.
This required a lot more careful thought before beginning to construct. Again we were given a time limit, and once this was up, Alan invited everyone to explain their structure and what the metaphor behind it was.
The purpose behind this challenge was two-fold.
Firstly, we were invited to use our creativity to develop our interpretation to a brief, and secondly, we had the opportunity to learn and understand the various ways that different people can interpret the same brief.
The final two challenges brought it back to our business interests.
Firstly, we were told to create something which illustrates one of the issues faced by us in our companies. We then had to contextualise our constructions for the other participants, explaining what our issue was, and how our structure represented it.
Immediately after, we were instructed to add or remove pieces to show how our structure would look if we had a resolution to our issue. The thinking behind this was that it encouraged us to focus on just one problem we were facing in our companies at that present time.
Then by having to change the structure, we could visualise an end to our issue, which would enable us to start formulating a plan on how to reach that stage.
Then all of a sudden, our workshop had come to a close and it was time to reflect.
Alan asked us if we had achieved our objectives for attending, and more importantly, if the workshop had encouraged us to consider alternative approaches to the issues and challenges we face in our day-to-day working lives…
Lego Serious Play offers business people the opportunity to learn to adopt a fresh approach to the common challenges and issues we face in our workplaces.
While not necessarily a team building exercise, it does provide an unmatched environment where you can find out about the type of people your colleagues are through fun and engaging series of challenges.
We’ve got full blown Lego nostalgia following the workshop and are on our way to stock up on the blocks for the office!
Lisa Kelland is SEM Specialist at Flint Studios which is Digital DNA’s Digital Company of the Year in 2017.
Web development, design, integration, hosting and digital marketing are their staples, and their strengths lie in user experience, systems integration and measureable results that exceed clients’ expectations.