Lego sets bring back childhood memories in many of us. Lego bricks scattered on the floor while kids construct cars, trucks, or buildings. Some follow the instructions, and some let their imagination run wild. If they encounter a problem, like bricks not fitting together, children find a solution and carry on creating their masterpiece. With LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, adults can apply those problem-solving skills and much more at work and in life. Here’s how.
You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it. Seymour Papert, constructionism theory pioneer
What Is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method consists in a four-step core process and seven application techniques designed to develop different skills, like critical thinking. In the workshops guided by certified facilitators, participants use their imagination and creativity to do different activities in a playful atmosphere. Organizations, teams, and individuals can benefit from this facilitated thinking, problem-solving, and communication technique.
This method draws from a variety of disciplines, like Constructivism and Neuroscience. The idea of “hand knowledge” comes from Constructionism, which means that people learn through making things.
Back in 1995, the LEGO® toy company realized that the advent of video games had changed the way children played. And it affected the business as well. They recognized that the company needed a new strategy. However, none of the solutions appealed to the company leadership.
On the other hand, two professors from the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland were also looking to create new strategies. So, LEGO® hired them.
In 1999, Robert Rasmussen was hired as director of product development for the educational market at LEGO® to drive the research into human learning and development. He started to look into using LEGO® bricks to develop strategies. They believed they were onto something. They team worked hard developing a method and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® came about in 2002.
Later, Rasmussen further expanded the original method so that facilitators can design custom workshops to address different needs.
Why It Works
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® follows the learning-by-making model based on brain-based learning theories, Constructivism, and the FLOW theory. It means that learners connect to their current state of mind and consider other options, can build their own learning and contemplate how to apply it, and set new goals for future learning.
The purpose of this method is to encourage participation and engagement, to go from “lean backward” to “lean forward” meetings. Therefore, participants come up with more insights, are more committed, and implement solutions faster.
Additionally, workshop participants learn skills like turn-taking, sharing, listening (a crucial skill at work and in life), teamwork, and problem-solving through the medium of play in a relaxed atmosphere. More importantly in this post-pandemic, hybrid-work world, the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method encourages relaxation and mindfulness in stressed people. Every company should strive to create a happy workplace, and this is one way of doing it.
We design double-impact LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshops where participants learn a new language and develop soft skills while having fun. Click here to find out more.