For those of you who are big fans of Lego, there should be no disagreement that the Lego blocks are good fun to play with. And they will certainly get the creative juices flowing as there are so many possible combinations and hence possibilities.
When it comes to corporate training, Lego Serious Play™ has also got quite a following. It has been used in diverse areas such as Vision and Value formulation, Team Building, Corporate Strategy and Process Re-engineering.
It might come as a shock to you that Lego Serious Play™ is not really a methodology or a framework. At best, it is a medium or a language (albeit a very hands-on one) for expressing different creative ideas. It is not something which guides you through a finite number of steps and lets you arrive at have some kind of an ingenious outcome.
So, what can Lego Serious Play™ do for us?
It is fundamentally designed to address one issue: Some of us are very good at articulating our thoughts through speech whilst some others who, being a bit shy, are more adept at expressing themselves through writing and/or drawing; Yet, there are some others who do their best thinking when they are doing things with their hands. Tactile experience is more important in their idea formulation process.
Lego Serious Play™ is uniquely positioned to tap into such people’s creativity and help them express their thoughts.
What gives Lego Serious Play™ its practical usefulness lies in the facilitator’s ability of associating what is being built with the Lego blocks with aspects of our business reality.
Like what is shown above: A simple white Lego block, through metaphor it can be denoted as a polar bear, good health, democracy or a wedding cake. That way, what you build will become a model reflecting your reality. Once the model describing the current state of reality has been built, it can be discussed, and improvements can be made to it and new ideas can be formed based on the discussions and observations of the model.
It is also claimed that when people talk about a model that they have built, the attention will be on the model and they will feel less nervous in expressing their thoughts. In the same way, criticisms would not be taken so personally as they are directed at a built object. This is conducive to constructive team discussions.
Therefore, Lego Serious Play™ is a good medium for engaging your team members, especially the strong and silent type. It can lead to inspirations through building consensus on what challenges the team are facing together. It might also, to a lesser extent, transform some misconceptions and current understanding of the situation in hand.
The caveat is that if the facilitator does not have sufficient relevant business experience, then in terms of Inspiration and Transformation, it will be relatively weak as clear association might not be established between the models being built and the business reality. If the facilitator’s main expertise is only in Lego, then most likely, the training session will only end up as a fun session without much long-lasting effect on building up leadership capabilities.