Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot

Wonderfull Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot 1Aeroflot is Russia’s national carrier and largest Airline. Founded in 1923, it is among the world’s oldest airlines and one of Russia’s most recognised brands. It’s revenue in 2013 exceeds more, than 4 bln. USD. In short: big business with big numbers often loses big picture. Hence we were contacted to assist them via design thinking on – how to get to key questions and name essential problems.

Wonderfull Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot 2Wonderfull team organized design thinking session for Aeroflot IT program management office (PMO) to help build PMO structure, identify key roles and re-think its connections with business. LEGO Serious Play approach was used at the stage of prototyping. Bricks helped people to think by their hands, freeing heads and eliminating wicked communication dilemmas.

Wonderfull Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot 3Through the exercise participants had an opportunity to uncover existing relations between Business and IT, uncover barriers and tensions in management structure. Foreign experts from SAP partner side – Dr. Jurgen Ott and Axel Ferste, who have great experience in managing complex transformation programs, shared their knowledge and gave very useful feedback on the LEGO models.

Wonderfull Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot 4We also used scribing and visual thinking for improving educational experience of all the participants. As always, we learn a lot from our participants, also trying to share knowledge and our experience from other projects.

Wonderfull Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play at Aeroflot 5We wish Aeroflot a high flight with creative power of its big team uncovered!  Come and join: LEGO Serious Play in Russia group on Facebook.

Gaming Your Way to Better Problem Solving at Work

Fast Company wrote this interesting article about how Puzzle nerd Heidi Williams of Box shares her favorite tools (all of them fun) for keeping her skills sharp. – by Rebecca Greenfield

Heidi Williams
Heidi Williams
Heidi Williams has had an affinity for puzzles since she was a kid. Now, as the senior director of platform engineering at Box, she’s somewhat of a professional puzzle solver, helping developers figure out ways to take advantage of Box’s API.

Quarto Classic Game
Quarto Classic Game
To keep her skills sharp at work, she still puzzles in her free time. “I’m into all of the typical games,” she told Fast Company. “Tetris, Sudoku, and stuff like that.” Since having kids, however, she spends many nights playing Quarto, a wooden puzzle game made by French game creator Gigamic. “My 8-year-old is amazingly good. She absolutely beats me,” says Williams. “I don’t believe in letting her win just to win.”

Invented by a Swiss mathematician, Quarto is played on a 4×4 board. Players choose from among 16 different game pieces, each of which is either tall or short, dark or light, square or circular, and hollow top or solid top. The first person to get four with matching attributes across a row wins. “You constantly have to be looking at it from different perspectives,” Williams said.

It’s that quality that keeps Williams gaming. “Just being able to see something from someone else’s perspective, looking at a problem in a new way, thinking outside the box–is there something I’m not seeing?” she said. “I feel like software is like that.”

The research is still out on whether “brain training” games actually work. The studies have shown that playing games only makes people better at those tasks. Arguably, complex problem solving games are akin to making algorithms.

As a software person, Williams insists that it keeps her programming skills fresh. “You can’t just believe the constraints you’ve been given,” she says. “I think software is all about that.”

Any programmer understands the link between puzzles and algorithms. When hiring, tech companies often ask prospective hires to solve a series of riddles and games. In fact, Williams knew that her mind was suited to computer science by identifying her puzzling talents. “If you follow the things that you’re naturally good at, you’ll always be happier in your work life,” she said.

Puzzles can also help non-programming types who want to strengthen problem-solving skills. In addition to Quarto, she recommends Katamino and Quoridor, also wooden games produced by Gigamic. Katamino is a sort of IRL Tetris, and Quoridor is an abstract strategy game involving pawns.

However, for best results, she suggests playing with kids. “I love watching their creativity. As you grow up, you figure out what the boundaries of life are,” she says. “That’s one of the things that has inspired me–engaging with them.”

Gamification Advancing Organizational Learning

Araxel Lego Serious Play Workshop
Araxel Lego Serious Play Workshop
Serious Play Pro community member Ahmed El-Boukhary has written a post about gamification and its possibilities to advance organizational learning.

Gamification is the new buzzword in the human capital training and development. As its name suggests, gamification exploits game concepts, thinking and mechanics in enterprise context to engage participants in solving problems, learning skills, or executing tasks. Application of gamification can also be extended to recruitment and assessment of job candidates.

Gamification has long been known in team building context, but less in other enterprise applications. However, recent developments in the domain of occupational psychology have illustrated that employee engagement is the primary driver of productivity. Not surprisingly, everyone was born with a natural skill to play, and playing continues to make people tick. Even the most sceptical people, and we have met many of them during our workshops, eventually submit to their primitive interest in enjoyment of playing.

The photo featured in this article was shot during on our strategy development workshop were Lego Serious Play methodology and kit were used. We have used Lego bricks to engage workshop participants, attach intangible concepts, such as company values, to memorable and tangible outfits, spark innovation, and dissolve communication barriers to develop something as complex as a corporate strategy.

Gamification can also be conducted using physical activities, board games, or computer simulations, since requirements for gamification are simple: rules, goals, structure, and finally a real life application. This is why there is no wonder new games are developed every day to deal with new business challenges, and that gamification is the modern organizational learning and development concept, as opposed to the sit-back-and-be-told approach.

Academy of Best Practices with Lego Serious Play

Wonderfull Lego Serious Play Lab - Academy of Best Practices
Wonderfull Lego Serious Play Lab – Academy of Best Practices

Wonderfull design thinking and creative intelligence lab supported already twice SAP educational initiative on change management and business transformation. It’s hard to imagine successful business without creative thinking, right? This is why we are here! To share creative energy, best team working practices and design thinking tools for making business innovative.

SAP CEP Academy goal is to share best global practices in change management and business transformation with Russian and CIS participants, which includes companies from diverse industries, including gas and oil, telecom, retail, banking and service.

Here is the place for creative education. We use game tools, visual and design thinking approaches to create really outstanding educational experience for participants! How does it work with serious business people? It works brilliantly!

Lego Serious Play helps to build visual metaphors, which help to see all the main strategic issues and problems, and also potential ways to solve them. For people taking strategic decisions LSP gives a prototyping tool for building and visualizing possible future scenarios, which give unique opportunity in a short time, with no resources predict and rebuild vision.

Empathy exercises and design thinking brainstorming practice give business participants new tools and open their minds in an unconventional way. All the business cases and other edu stuff we redesigned to make it clear for everyone, easy to grasp and use in team working through design. So, how to change the business? Start from your own, change yourself!

Lego Serious Play with 1500 participants in Chile

Lego Serious Play Sketchnote by El Lente De Kris
Lego Serious Play Sketchnote by El Lente De Kris

The following news was published on the website of the Society for Human Resource Management.

SANTIAGO, CHILE–The World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) kicked off its 15th World HR Congress here, on October 15.

Organized by the Circulo Ejecutivo de Recursos Humanos of Chile, this biannual international event has become a major draw for global HR leaders, including dozens of CEOs of national HR organizations, like the Society for Human Resource Management’s own Hank Jackson.

The HR Congress commenced with a unique workshop, in which the 1,500 conference attendees, at tables of eight to 10 each, broke into bags of Legos and began testing their creativity. The session, “Building an Identity,” was facilitated by Lego Serious Play consultants Robert Rasmussen and Lucio Margulis, who guided participants through several fun challenges.

The problem with meetings, said Rasmussen, is that people tend to be disengaged—“leaning back.” People are distracted; thinking about what to say or glancing at their phones. The result is lack of participation, insight and interest in the decision-making process.

Instead, the goal at meetings should be to get everyone “leaning forward,” 100 percent engaged and committed to the outcome.

At first, conference attendees were absorbed by building their own Lego towers, then they graduated to constructing free-form abstractions representing what companies would look like in the absence of HR. Finally, they were challenged to create a group model incorporating structures that had been built individually, thereby giving 3-D expression to what HR will look like in the future.

Sean McCusker’s Research Paper on Lego®, Seriously: Thinking through Building

Sean McCusker
Sean McCusker

The International Journal of Knowledge, Innovation and Entreprenurship published the paper of Serious Play Pro community member Sean McCusker about Lego®, Seriously: Thinking through building. Sean is Research Fellow in the School of Education of Durham University.

The paper presents a case study about how groups engaged in a workshop that guided them through work with their own identities. They started off by describing their current identities. Thereafter they built ideal models and analyzed through series of shared model building tasks on how to best move towards the ideal. The paper offers a generic comparison of group-work properties between general preschool teachers group, mathematics teachers group and a group from small engineering firm. It broadly described their engagement in the task.

The paper abstract is: “LEGO® Serious Play™ (LSP) is a methodology which has been developed primarily for use in business contexts, initially with Real-Time Identity for You, Real-Time Strategy for the Team and Real-Time Strategy for the Enterprise. However, many of the principles which underpin the methodology are supported within the educational research literature. The findings discussed here represent some of the efforts in reclaiming LSP for the educational domain. The current study introduces LSP as a method of getting at participants’ understanding of their own professional identities. It details the process of the development of workshops and reflects on the aspects of ‘What Works’ within and across a small number of educational contexts. Results from two distinct groups are discussed, pre-service Teachers and Employees in a Small / Medium Enterprise (SME).”

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