The ultimate guide to Lego Serious play | Bluestonex

The Ultimate Guide to LEGO Serious Play

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    The LEGO® Serious Play methodology is an innovative, experimental process designed to enhance innovation and business performance.

    This tool can be run face2face or remotely and sessions can range from 2 hours up to 8-hour workshops.


There are several reasons why LEGO bricks are particularly well suited to this kind of process. The material makes it easy for participants to put together satisfying models which represent something that they wish to communicate.

They do not need significant technical skills; the LEGO System is familiar to many, and even if they have not used LEGO bricks before, most people find it quite easy to build meaningful constructions.

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

How does LEGO Serious Play work?

LEGO Serious Play in a physical sense works by bringing together employees responsible for creative design and giving them a safe space to explore and communicate the issues they are facing by practically building them in 3D. It requires a trained facilitator to undertake a workshop, which can last about 2-8 hours and can be done in person or remotely.

In a problem-solving sense, it works by encouraging group discussion, knowledge sharing, problem-solving and decision-making through creative play. LEGO Serious Play helps employees attack issues from other angles and physically map them out. This unlocks alternative approaches and subsequent solutions. The focus is on the bricks and the building rather than the people and the opinions. This removes the fear of being judged for speaking or hurting feelings. This opens people's imaginations up to alternative ways of thinking.

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.

Who uses Lego Serious Play?

LEGO Serious Play is a method used by companies- large and small that are facing issues with data in their organisation. Research in the LSP methodology has found it to be beneficial for all levels of an organisation- from SEO to assistants and interns. World-leading brands such as IKEA, Virgin Atlantic and Microsoft have all used LSP to address organisational issues.

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:

  • Build confidence in creativity
  • Improving the ability to speak up and communicate effectively with colleagues
  • Learning how to express ideas via alternative methods such as storytelling
  • Knowing when to let a problem go if it isn’t worth fighting for
  • Utilise metaphors to prompt a deeper understanding of an issue
  • Recognise the wider impact issues can have on an organisation
  • Participants can better extrapolate their experience to move an organisation forward
  • Participants become greater assets to their organisation.
  • Team building exercise which helps teams to better understand each other.

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?

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.

Arrange a Lego Serious Play session

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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