Reading Time: 6 minutes

Business Solutions with LEGO Serious Play

Main Takeaways
Reading Time: 6 minutes LEGO® Serious Play (LSP) is a facilitated method for strategic decision-making and problem resolution in business environments. The workshop results are always directly aligned to the business goals in focus and can be used next day at the work floor immediately. The workshop participants are all equally involved in finding the business solutions.

LEGO® Serious Play (LSP) is a facilitated method for strategic decision-making and problem resolution in business environments. The workshop results are always directly aligned to the business goals in focus and can be used next day at the work floor immediately. The workshop participants are all equally involved in finding the business solutions.

LEGO® Serious Play® helps to build participatory practices within organisations through visual and physical co-creation. It is a lean forward, hands on technique, where everyone plays and enables 100% participation and 100% buy-in.

LEGO Serious Play — Applications

Related to teir complexity are LEGO Serious Play (LSP) workshops aligned on different organisational levels:

  1. individual/team level, or
  2. department/organisational level, or
  3. a combination of both.

With LSP you can solve management and business issues like

  • Defining a Shared Vision & Getting Commitment,
  • Defining Business Strategy & Vision,
  • Developing Business Process Management,
  • Developing Teams & Employees,
  • Implementing Culture Change, / Organ. Change,
  • Performing Market Analysis, SWAT Analysis,
  • Brainstorming Innovation & Ideation / Product Design,
  • Defining Value Proposition & Value Added (Business Canvas),
  • Aligning any topics to business goals in general.

LEGO® Serious Play is a facilitated method for strategic decision-making and problem resolution in business environments. All LEGO® Serious Play workshops results are directly aligned to the business goals in focus. 

Roles involved

In a LSP workshop three  roles are involved to assure the business alignment:

Sponsor the sponsor provides the business, management issues to be solved: optionaly she also agreed with the facilitator to potential workshop goals. Boss, Sponsor
Facilitator The facilitator

  • prepares the workshop goals (with the sponsor)
  • guides the process and sets timelines.
  • poses questions to drive forward the business issues in focus. This challenges depend entirely on the issues and topics the workshop shall address.
LSP workshop facilitator
Workshop Participants

the workshop particpants solve the business issues in answering the facilitator's questions by building LEGO models & sharing their meaning.

 

LEGO Serious Play Workshop

Groups or tables of max. 12 participants per facilitator are best to run a LSP workshop efficiently. Scale this if needed: 10 facilitators/10 tables, 20 facilitators/20 tables…, etc.

Why LEGO Serious Play Works

Thinking with the Hands

The workshop participants answer all questions by building LEGO® models. Participants construct the models in a flow of intense playing.

LEGO Serious Play - Thinking with the Hands

The models “emerge” out of the bricks at hand without any long-term rational pre-design.

By building the models with their hands the participants use their knowledge and imagination — much faster than traditional rational brainstorming techniques will do. They image and build their models instantaneously.
At this step very often a coarse story line of the story to be shared emerges unconsciously.

The Knowledge is already in the Room — Metaphors used in Stories

LSP unlocks the participant's hidden knowledge and constructs their new knowledge. Because LSP fosters the understanding of the system to be modelled, LSP sharpens the view for connecting purposes between organisation and individual unconsciously and with strong commitment. Playing with and challenging the model constructs new knowledge through self-reflection.

As metaphors the models opens a wide door of interpretation and fantasy. Metaphors provide richer descriptions of the reality, and open a wider look for new possibilities. They are used to give strong effect to a statement. Metaphors are used to give the reader/listener a better idea of the emotions/feelings of a situation.
In using metaphors you create a strong emotional impact in the reader's minds. LSP engages communication: participants explain the metaphors of all the model’s meanings.

Everybody Communicates Equally — Create Common Understanding

After finishing the models all participants explain why their model is an answer to the question raised. Everybody shares the story covering the meaning of the model: the thoughts, associations, emotions and feelings coming to mind when constructing.
All other participants get aware of personal reflections while listening.

Finally, all participants reflect key insights that are uncovered, ask clarification questions to the models, and sum up surprises and connections.
After each builder had told her story to the group

  • The facilitator/participants ask further questions for more details.
  • The builder provides the information wanted.

LSP workshops lead to a strong common commitment is created since by sharing each individual interpretation with all participants.

If it is beneficial to pinpoint the individual meanings, you can do this on personal as well as on group level:

  • Personal Level: ask each participinat to write down for herself the answer to “What me most impressed on model X.”on a post-it.
  • Group Level: ask the group to find homogeneous answer to “What me most impressed on model X.”

Paste the post-its beneath the models built.

Levels of Reflection and Abstraction

Depending on the complexity of the focussed business topics, the facilitator states questions on several levels of reflection and abstraction to solve the business issues and applies one or more of the following technique(s):

Building Individual Models and Stories

The goal of this technique is to share individual and personal knowledge with the group. Each builder images and constructs an individual model for her one to answer the question raised by the facilitator.

After building the builders shares their stories.

LEGO Serious Play - Individual Model

Building Shared Models and Stories

The goal of this technique is to create a shared understanding and consensus of certain topics.

The group consolidates all individual models in a common model agreed by all.

For this the participants integrate either (1) parts of the individual models, or (2) complete individual models.

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Creating a Landscape

The goal of this technique is to analyse collections of individual models without losing details & meanings.

Participants analyse / categorise the collection of all individual models to see differences or common patterns.

Lego Serious Play — Creating a Landscape

Making Connections

The goal of this technique is to identify relationships, interfaces, and breakpoints between the meanings of two constructed models.

Connections are constructed by building physical links in using a chain, a tube, a string, or a hose. Connections can be strong, weak, or flexible.

Lego Serious Play — Connections

Building a System

The goal of this technique: a system of models emerges when multiple models are connect in a way that cascaded effects occur.

LEGO Serious Play - Connections and Relations

Playing Emergence and Decisions

The goal of this technique: is to simulate the consequences of decisions by playing scenarios; to explore how the models or the landscape responds to dynamic changes / events.

E.g. “What would happen, if a weak connection is changed to a strong one?”; “what would happen, if certain parts (of a model) are move far away, or near together?”

Lego Serious Play — Playing Emergence and Decisions

Extracting Simple Guiding Principles

The goal of this technique is to transfer lessons learned in the LSP workshop to the workplace/floor shop.

In this technique the participants develop high-level guidelines to implement in the real world actions / decisions derived from the models built.

Extracting Simple Guiding Principles

 


 

Further Readings


: Andrew Becraft, via flickr.comMarko Rillo, via flickr.comEOI Escuela de Organización Industrial, via flickr.comMarko Rillo, via flickr.comMTarnowskiwebAtelier.net, via flickr.com, .