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Have you ever… played LEGO for business reasons?

Yes you read right, and spoiler alert: I did recently. :-) 

It’s called Lego Serious Play and helps to create a common view on a certain project status, vision, challenge, team constellation or …. Feel free to add your own ideas for use cases. 

 

I had the opportunity to participate in a LEGO Serious Play Facilitator training and would like to share some insights. 

Maybe you are so inspired afterwards that you might want to try it out as well.

 

Lego1.jpg

Picture 1: Don’t you want to start right away? ;-)

 

Why to use LEGO instead of Post-Its on a Whiteboard, virtual boards, Visual methods or anything related? 

That’s easy: 

the team creates something physically / touchable with their own hands and everyone participates. At the end you have one „creation“ you all emotionally relate with, agree on and identify with. 

You could probably place it somewhere prominent to keep it in mind. For example you expose the „Project xy goal“ creation in the entry hall - there will be many curious people checking this out. 

 

How to start:

Chose the participants and questions wisely - like for any other workshop too. What’s the goal? 

Then start with an easy task - like „Build a duck“ - to learn how to use LEGO and awake your abstract thinking.

 

Lego2.jpeg

Picture 2 - Question 1: „Build a duck“

 

Next - some individual creations: 

Add two other small tasks that slowly lead to the initial question to solve. 

Like „Build you worst workshop situation ever“ or „What characteristic is most important to you for a workshop facilitator?“.

Everyone presents her/ his creation to the group. All participants are equal, nobody critiziess, only questions that help to understand are allow.

 

Lego3.jpg

Picture 3 - Question 2: „Workshop from hell“

 

The workshop topic question:

Everyone builds her / his individual creation(s) related to the questions, after 2-3 presentations and iterations the group prioritizes them and afterwards they are combined into one big work. 

Important: everyone within the group agrees on the individual creations chosen, their meaning and their position.

 

When everything is set minimum two different team members explain the Gesamtkunstwerk from beginning to end in their own word and that is caught on film to document it. 

 

How do you check if everybody is ok with the final creation? Do the „Fist-of-Five Voting“. Ask „Do you agree with the explanation?“ - everyone shows his hand with 0 to 5 fingers up (0 = No Way! to  5 = I love this!) and you deep dive into  the outer ranges, e. g. the 1 if the average shows a 4. This may cause some iterations and adjustments but creates a common view and a full identification. 

 

What you don’t see in the joint model example - but it helps to understand dependencies: add some connectors to the model that show interdependencies and move with (or not) when you place the individual parts in the Gesamtkunstwerk. 

 

Lego4.jpg

Picture 4 - Question 3: „Which characteristics does a LEGO Serious Play Facilitator need?“ 

 

Your role as facilitator - ask questions, ask more questions and again ask questions. :-) 

Lead the team during the creative process, be aware of possible tensions, moderate and never comment with your own point of view on that topic, at least ask before you bring in another meaning. That’s the hardest part: if you’re personally involved into the topic, chose that workshop moderation wisely. 

 

 

I’d now love to hear your opinion:

  • Have you every tried / participated in a LEGO Serious Play workshop?
  • Do you think this method would help you in your daily workshop facilitation life?
  • What is you preferred method?
  • Did that short summary make you curious?

12 comments

I haven't, but I think I would like it. Perhaps too much and not listen to anyone telling me what to build. Off in my own world.

Like nina_schmidt likes this

@nina_schmidt I've never done this before but I'm going to the next time I'm in-person with my team! I've used clay or play-doh in the post for participants to help them with their creativity, but not to help form their ideas. I've also been an attendee myself in cutting out images from magazines to create a collage to answer questions.

With this LEGO method, I think that participants can have a more open-ended way (vs the magazine images for example) to create something that supports their thoughts. I like it! 

At the very least, this is a forcing function to do something differently. Because even wearing something different for the day puts me in a different mindset, I find that when I am working in a different workshop format than normal improves the variety of my thoughts.

Like nina_schmidt likes this
Darryl Lee Atlassian Team Mar 29, 2022

This is just wow!

Never thought about that and it's an amazing idea to play with it during meetings making the meeting itself more fun and strengthen the participation.

Am gonna share with my team.

Like nina_schmidt likes this
Andy Gladstone Community Leader Mar 29, 2022

While not entirely related to this post, here is a Tweet I saw yesterday that is a parallel to this concept of expression through Lego. I felt I needed to share it here.

https://twitter.com/design_by_kp/status/1507120156954267657?s=20&t=WPVar-sVdcIYKWp6yz4OqA

Like # people like this
nina_schmidt Community Leader Mar 29, 2022

@Matt Doar__ LinkedIn that could be a problem - being carried away. But a good fascilitator aka moderator should realize that 😉

@Christine P_ Dela Rosa that magazine idea sounds interesting, never tried this. 
the goal is to have one final creation all agree on, have built together and can present - that works like a spark, (nearly) everyone wants to participate 

@Darryl Lee it‘s should (at least officially) be guided creating with a goal 😉

@Andy Gladstone awesome - thank you 

Like # people like this
Brant Schroeder Community Leader Apr 02, 2022

I find this interesting.  I am surprised that Lego does not offer a facilitators edition on their website.  I could see how it would be fun and engaging.

Like nina_schmidt likes this
nina_schmidt Community Leader Apr 04, 2022

@Brant Schroeder there are special sets on the Lego website - at least in Europe. Search for Lego serious play 🧐

Brant Schroeder Community Leader Apr 04, 2022

Found it.  Several different options.  

2000414

Like nina_schmidt likes this

At the end of stand-up scrum meeting, in a Agile context, it would be interesting if the Team place a new Lego item based on wht has been done and goal!

It should be a graphical representation of status of the sprint. The result could be also discussed in the retrospective meeting.

Like nina_schmidt likes this
nina_schmidt Community Leader May 04, 2022

@Fabio Racobaldo _Herzum_ 

awesome idea 😀

Cool way to keep the team motivated.

Like nina_schmidt likes this

 

  • Have you every tried / participated in a LEGO Serious Play workshop? Yes
  • Do you think this method would help you in your daily workshop facilitation life? I did it as part of a help to find work course. It was interesting because we did an activity where one person had the instructions and the other person was supposed to build, based on the other person's instructions. I got the point but it looked kind of frustrating.
  • What is you preferred method? I think that facilitator could have cut short the activity as we all got the idea
  • Did that short summary make you curious? Yes
Like nina_schmidt likes this

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