Developing solutions to complex issues with Lego® Serious Play®

When it comes to issues of strategic importance, conventional discussion formats quickly reach their limits. While certain staff members take the lead, others barely pluck up the courage to open their mouths. As a result, not all good ideas are brought to attention and a shared vision remains a distant utopia. Can Lego® Serious Play® (LSP) offer a solution in this context? We decided to find out.
April 16, 2020
4 min
Johannes Starke, Product Manager Learning & E-Learning Expert, tts GmbH Johannes Starke

What will your future world of learning look like? How do we want to collaborate in the future? What does good leadership entail? Time and again, ongoing complex issues create major challenges for departmental teams – especially if the discussions are not really steered properly.

If that’s the case, it is likely that only a few staff members will contribute their ideas. Most of the team will stay silent – either because they fail to find the right words, because they are quite simply not given a chance to air their views or because a crucial thought only crosses their mind after the conversation has already moved on. By the end of the meeting, a handful of staff have therefore usually said a great deal, but no collective decision has been reached.

Lego® Serious Play® for better collaboration

This is exactly where Lego® Serious Play® comes in. This play-based method is designed to enhance the development of ideas in meetings and workshops. With LSP, collaboration is

  • Participative
  • Target-focused
  • Structured
  • Creative
  • Engaging and
  • Fair for all.

Lego® Serious Play® put to the test

Does this all sound too good to be true? Here at tts, we use LSP in a variety of contexts, including in the learning strategy and design workshops we host at customers’ premises. These workshops primarily center on how a customer wishes to change strategy in order to promote learning at their company. But before adequate solutions can be found, a shared vision needs to be developed.

A whole host of questions crop up at this stage such as: Is what the company is offering in terms of staff development suited to the future world of learning? How will staff needs be addressed and factored into the new strategy? And is it possible to overcome the communication barriers created by a formal hierarchy?

Brainstorming block by block

Lego® Serious Play® offers a playful way of tackling such challenges. At the same time, a structured procedure and clearly defined rules of interaction and communication ensure everyone plays their part and every voice is heard.

Working alone and as a group

At the beginning of the workshop, each participant is given the opportunity to focus on working on their own creative solution or idea. The goal here is for everyone to visualize metaphors using the bricks and every builder is free to decide for themselves what their model means.

The LSP models are then shared with the others in a respectful environment. Everyone explains what they have built. After all, these models never stand on their own, only taking on their meaning once it has been assigned to them by their creators.

The shared vision

Once all the ideas have been shared with the group in a respectful manner, they are finally pulled together to create a picture. This gives rise to a shared vision of the new world of learning that is visible to all and supported by everyone. What’s more, we have discovered that, in the vast majority of cases, the end result even manages to win over the skeptics who don’t want to pick up the supposed “toy” at the start of the workshop.

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