What the heck is Lego Serious Play anyway?

Generating business strategies using Lego

Lego Serious Play

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® was developed with Lego 20 years ago. The method had its 20th birthday this year on the 17th of September 2021.

Many application techniques have been developed over the period the method has existed. Using these techniques, the method offers many ways to help teams and organisations.

An introduction to Lego Serious Play

LSP is an experiential system. It is based on the constructivist theory of education of the philosopher Jean Piaget and the extension of that theory into constructionism by Seymour Papert. As participants build models, they start to create knowledge from their experiences. Knowledge is shared via the method using a 3D model. Using the models as the object of discussion allows communication to not be personalised. This is useful when exploring complex and emotive subjects.

You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation

– Often attributed to Plato – Ancient Greek Philosopher and writer of the Republic

How LSP works

The process of using LSP is always facilitated using a collection of application techniques. These techniques can be used in various combinations. This allows the method to be versatile enough to cope with varying degrees of complexity.

The basic process is as follows:

  1. Start with a question to respond to. The facilitator sets the question based on the agreed focus of the session.
  2. All participants build a model in response to the question. This encourages them to build their knowledge in line with Piaget and Papert’s theories.
  3. The insights the participants have during the building process become the knowledge and ideas for each participant.
  4. The participants share their insights through their model’s story.
  5. Last but not least, the team reflects on what has been discussed and addresses questions via the model.

Additional techniques can be added to the process. This allows us to find deeper insights, propose solutions and more.

The participants have a short set of rules to follow when using the method. These are:

  1. The facilitator asks a question with many possible answers.
  2. Everybody builds and everybody shares.
  3. The meaning is in the model, and the builder owns it.
  4. Questions are about the model – not the individual.
  5. Mobile phones are off.

(taken from the Wiley book Building a Better Business Using Lego Serious Play)

Success stories in LSP

There are many success stories using the Lego Serious Play method. We have facilitated workshops for charities, teams of lecturers from Higher education and even small local community groups.

Many different situations have had the method applied to them, including:

There are many more case studies available too. And there are many organisations who have found value in using the method including:

  • Fujitsu
  • Toyota
  • Coca-Cola
  • Fedex
  • Google
  • Mastercard
  • Microsoft
  • Nasa
  • Nissan
  • Pfizer
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Target
  • Telia Telco
  • Unilever
  • Waitrose
  • World Bank Group
  • Harvard University
  • MIT
  • Cambridge University
  • Oxford University
  • EU
  • UNDP
  • Denmark’s Government
  • UK Government

As certificated LSP facilitators, we can help you use the method to meet your team’s or organisation’s needs.

When you’re being creative nothing is wrong

– John Cleese – Actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer

Get in touch with us and we can co-create new strategies that can help your organisation and teams be ready for whatever comes around the corner. Let’s play!

By: Mart Gordon

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