The ultimate guide to Lego Serious play | Bluestonex

The Ultimate Guide to LEGO Serious Play



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AN INTRODUCTION TO LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is a revolutionary methodology that goes beyond conventional problem-solving approaches. In this comprehensive article written by certified LSP facilitators, we delve deep into the world of LEGO Serious Play, exploring its origins, methodologies, the profound impact it can have on fostering creativity and innovation within teams and organisations and why we use it for SAP & UX Design.

WHAT IS LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?

    LEGO Serious Play is not merely about building with colourful bricks; it's a powerful tool for unlocking creative potential in professional settings. Originating in the late 1990s, this methodology employs LEGO bricks as a medium for communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. It transcends traditional brainstorming methods, encouraging participants to construct tangible representations of their thoughts and ideas.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?

The primary purpose of LEGO Serious Play is to provide an alternative approach to problem-solving, communication, and collaboration in professional settings. Utilising LEGO bricks as a medium, the methodology aims to unlock creativity and innovation within individuals and teams by providing a tangible and interactive platform for expression.

Unlike traditional methods, LEGO Serious Play encourages participants to bypass verbal constraints, allowing them to delve into deeper layers of their cognitive and imaginative faculties. This results in a more holistic understanding of complex issues and promotes a collaborative environment where diverse perspectives contribute to innovative solutions. The ultimate goal is to enhance individual and collective intelligence, fostering a dynamic and creative culture that drives positive change across various industries and organisational contexts.

THE HISTORY OF LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

LEGO® Serious Play is built upon a process which stems from the heart of LEGO bricks and the LEGO system.

Looking for a tool to unlock innovation within the company, the LEGO Group realised that a solution might be found in the LEGO System itself: just as the LEGO Group had been telling children to ‘build their dreams’ for decades, so perhaps adults could be asked to build their visions for future strategy.

The idea of the methodology originated in 1996 when two professors at IMD in Switzerland and The LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen were exploring alternative strategic planning tools and systems. They developed an understanding of the value of employees and the concept of an evolving, adaptive strategy that included using LEGO elements as three-dimensional models of business issues and challenges. The strategy was named LEGO Serious Play

WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?

LEGO Serious Play (LSP) involves a structured series of steps to guide participants through the process of collaborative problem-solving and decision-making. While the specific facilitation process can vary depending on client needs, here is a general outline of the key steps commonly associated with LEGO Serious Play:

1. Introduction and Warm-Up:
The facilitator introduces the purpose of the session and the LEGO Serious Play methodology. Participants are given a warm-up task to familiarise themselves with the LEGO bricks and stimulate creative thinking.

2. Building Individual Models:
Participants are asked to individually build models that represent their thoughts, ideas, or feelings related to a specific question or topic. This step allows each participant to express their individual perspectives through tangible LEGO constructions.

3. Sharing and Storytelling:
Participants share their individual models with the group, explaining the significance and meaning behind their creations. The focus is on verbalizing thoughts and fostering open communication among participants.

4. Group Building:
Participants are organised into small groups. Each group works collaboratively to build a shared model that incorporates elements from each individual's contribution. This step encourages consensus-building and shared understanding.

5. Sharing Group Models:
Each group presents their collaborative model to the larger group. Group members discuss the shared model and the rationale behind their design choices.

6. Reflection and Discussion:
The facilitator leads a reflective discussion, encouraging participants to explore insights gained from the models and discussions. Participants discuss common themes, patterns, and potential solutions to the challenge or question at hand.

The session concludes with a summary of key insights and potential action items. Participants may identify specific steps, strategies, or changes to implement based on the outcomes of the LEGO Serious Play session.

THE SCIENCE OF LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

As is a founding belief of the LEGO ethos, LEGO Serious Play was developed around the human ability to imagine and make sense of a situation. It’s about how we use our creativity and apply it to create something new and improved. Research from LEGO suggests that learning using our hands takes a different path and generates a different emotional response than just thinking it through. This is an asset for creating problem solvers and organisations which need to develop new ways to face a problem. It is also suggested that using our hands makes something easier to understand and remember.

Using concepts such as Constructivism and constructionism, Storytelling and metaphors helps the brain to process and understand the situation better and the better a situation is understood, the better the solution can be.

APPLICATIONS OF LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

LEGO Serious Play is not confined to a specific industry; its versatility allows for widespread adoption. Here's a glimpse into how this innovative approach is making waves across various sectors:

1. Business and Leadership In the realm of business and leadership, LEGO Serious Play has proven to be an invaluable tool for strategy development, team building, and problem-solving. It enables leaders to gain unique insights from their teams and encourages a collaborative approach to decision-making.

2. Education and Training Educators and trainers are leveraging LEGO Serious Play to enhance learning experiences. By incorporating hands-on activities with LEGO bricks, participants are better able to grasp complex concepts, making the learning process more enjoyable and effective.

3. Innovation and Product Development When it comes to fostering innovation and driving product development, LEGO Serious Play offers a fresh perspective. Teams can explore new ideas, identify potential challenges, and create innovative solutions through the tactile and interactive nature of this methodology.

4. SAP and Software Development: Enhancing User Experience Through LEGO Serious Play In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, where user experience is paramount, LEGO Serious Play proves to be a game-changer. Specifically, when applied to SAP and software projects, this methodology introduces a novel approach to improving user experience and driving higher adoption rates.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?

LEGO Serious Play creates a multitude of benefits for an organisation and individual participants. These educational changes form new habits for creative thinking and problem-solving, creating a culture of innovation. These individual benefits include:

  • Enhanced Communication
    LEGO Serious Play facilitates open communication within teams. The physical models act as a universal language, allowing participants to express ideas that may be challenging to articulate verbally.

  • Increased Engagement and Motivation
    The hands-on nature of LEGO Serious Play injects an element of fun and creativity into professional settings, leading to increased participant engagement and motivation. This, in turn, enhances the quality of collaboration and idea generation.

  • Problem-Solving Prowess
    By encouraging participants to build and share their models, LEGO Serious Play promotes a unique problem-solving dynamic. It encourages out-of-the-box thinking and allows for the exploration of unconventional solutions.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY RULES

In order to get the best results from your LEGO Serious Play experience, the rules must be followed closely. Where as these are several rules, which facilitators will run through efor the session starts, there are three key rules to be obeyed. These include:

Everyone Builds

To build a team, everyone needs to be involved, so everyone has a go at building. Regardless of if you are CEO or a new assistant, be prepared to up-bricks along with everyone else at the workshop. Depending on the complexities and the nature of the problem, building a model can be done individually or as a team so be prepared to collaborate and open your imagination.

You own your model

Once building has finished, each participant will share the meaning behind their mode to the group. This is where storytelling and metaphors are essential. Other participants can ask questions about the model but with the meanings being so personal, the participant needs to own his or her model and defend the reasons for why the model is the way it is.

All discussions focus on the model

Externalising the problem in LEGO is one of main success factors of LEGO Serious Play. It works as a metaphor for the feelings, problems, worries and fears of the builder. It can be a sensitive topic, which is why it’s essential for facilitators to make sure all questions are focused on the model and not the participant.

WHAT IS A LEGO SERIOUS PLAY FACILITATOR?

Running a LEGO Serious Play session requires a certified LEGO Serious Play facilitator to be present. An LSP facilitator is necessary to ensure that the session is run as smoothly as possible, helping users to unlock their potential but also ensuring that rules are followed, so everyone gets the most out of the workshop.

DO YOU NEED A FACILITATOR FOR LEGO SERIOUS PLAY SESSIONS?

Yes, it’s strongly advised by LEGO (creators of the methodology) that a properly trained Facilitator is present for LSP workshops. Running an LSP workshop requires the correct in-depth knowledge and hands-on skills. Without official facilitator training, it can be difficult to plan, execute and help users get the most out of sessions.

Bluestonex’s LEGO Serious Play certified LEGO Serious Play facilitators have run workshops in London, Manchester, and Birmingham as well as many other locations besides our own Apphaus space in Oswestry. We know from personal experience that having a certified facilitator running a session makes a considerable difference for the organisations looking to solve their problems.

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The application of LEGO Serious Play to SAP and software development goes beyond traditional methodologies. It introduces a dynamic and interactive approach that not only enhances user experience but also accelerates the adoption of software solutions. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, embracing LEGO Serious Play in SAP projects emerges as a strategic choice for organisations aiming to transform their User Experience.

Bluestonex are facilitators of LEGO Serious Play. Our AppHaus design space is the perfect setting for a LEGO Serious Play workshop and comes complete with a mountain of LEGO kits. We can accommodate sessions of any size. If you would like to learn more about taking part in a LEGO Serious Play workshop, register for the session below. Our LSP facilitator will be in touch.

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