3D Modeling with LEGO Serious Play

This post was recently published in my blog as a part of a big series of posts where I am addressing a full makeover our actual performance appraisal process. Here, you will only see step-by-step method for this special activity I use with LSP. A little bit of context, this activity is part of the “phase” of the makeover process, here is a small resume of this phase:

What should happen here: Discussions and interactions, common vocabulary, and understanding should be the most important here.

Format: In groups.

Output: “What do you want to become in X years?” If you are working at the team level, X could be 1 or 2 years. At the organization level, you should use something between 10 and 20 years. Sometimes, people don’t want to think more than 5 years ahead and that is all right.

All the information about this phase is in this post, today, I will address the “how-to”. To do that, I will share the first activity with you for this phase. If you want to know more about this performance appraisal makeover process, please visit this link.

Enjoy the activity

3D Modeling with Lego Serious Play

Introduction and More…

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methodology is an innovative, experimental process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. To run this activity, I strongly recommend an external facilitator. Keep in mind that you really should to do this with the help of a facilitator, if you disregard this advice; it will be your choice for what you get for results.

In this activity you will have two parts: “the warm-up” and “the core activity” itself. In the warm-up, you will allow time for people to familiarize themselves with the tool (in this case the LEGO bricks). At the end of the warm-up activity, you can start to work on your challenge. I will explain to you both parts of this activity, but if you are curious about LEGO Serious Play Methodology, please visit this link. You will find a lot of information there. Some of the links are in my blog, but you also have external links to helpful information and different points of view.

For the warm-up activity you need to be sure that everyone has the same kit. You could check specific LSP kits here. The exploration bag is great for any warm-up activity.

The game…

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Lego Serious Play Experience at Airbus

Airbus_logo_3D_BlueI have had a number of people ask me how I deployed LSP at Airbus so I thought I would share how I came to LSP, what I have done and what worked and what didn’t work so well. Please just take this as a humble sharing of experience, nothing more.


I would first like to put things into perspective. Airbus group is a big entity of many nationalities, many different entities ranging from offices to production sites and products (airplanes, space and defense, etc.). I only have experience of introducing the method at an Airbus aircraft production facility in France, in St Nazaire. I am aware of two other one-time initiatives at Airbus using Lego Serious Play but haven’t managed to create any internal exchange of information around the methodology.

At St Nazaire, we structurally assemble the front and middle section of aircraft (meaning that we connect together sections of the fuselage to make either the front end with the cockpit or the middle section of the fuselage onto which are bolted the wings) and then equip them with insulation, hydraulics, electrics, air, and everything a plane needs and that you can’t see when sitting in it.

How it all started

I was introduced to the method by Per Kristiansen who came to the Global Innovation Forum in London in 2013 for a teaser workshop. I really liked the jacket he wore with the zip in the back so thought I would give the methodology a try. :-)

Returning to the office full of enthusiasm, I started talking about it with great energy. I showed a picture I had taken in London, however, LSP being something one needs to experience; I found it difficult to convey the potential of the method.

Héloïse Lauret from BNP Cardif that I had also met in London proposed to organise a session with other companies. Instead of the full 4 day training, we would do half at first. I managed to convince my management to attend this first half of facilitator training and would then test it before taking the second half. We finally all met at the Orange Campus in Paris for an initial 2 days training.

Lego Serious Play at Airbus - by Mark Harling
Lego Serious Play at Airbus – by Mark Harling

Back at the office, I assembled 4 pages showing photographs of what I had built during the training and illustrating aspects of what one can achieve using the LSP methodology. I started going from manager to manager telling a story using the pictures as a teaser. I generated much interest in that way, however, few managers were willing to try. Many were reluctant to abandon traditional brainstorming activities and some admitted that they could not see themselves putting their teams in front of Lego. Before having experienced a workshop, many people think we are playing Lego or using Lego to represent the reality (build the assembly line for example). Once they have participated, they see the true use and power. Continue reading

A Musical Powerpoint Timer for LSP Sessions

Donna Denio and I like to play music during our build exercises. In the past we used a little iPod, but turning it on and off was often more hassle than entertainment.

Instead, we are now including an animated timer in our Powerpoint presentation that also plays a song. Works great and serves two purposes: time the build exercise and create a specific atmosphere. Workshop participants can see the timer projected in a large font and always know how much time they have left to build.

To create the timer animation I use the site http://e.ggtimer.com/. I set it to the required time plus a short buffer (it takes a few seconds to start the recording). Using Quicktime I then record a screenshot of the running timer while it is counting down. Here is an example:


Once the timer has been recorded, I grab a song (audio file) and drag it onto Quicktime. This overlays the video with the song. A great feature is that the song automatically fades out when the timer elapses.

The music enhanced timer video can then easily be imported onto a Powerpoint slide and set to start automatically. Voila!

Disclaimer: this works great on a Mac, but has not been tested under Windows. 

Lego Serious Play Facilitator Training in Ukraine

Lego Serious Play Facilitator Training in Ukraine

Victoria Kucherchuk and the CBS Professional Training Company launch regular LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitator training in Ukraine. In-house facilitator training is also available.

The pilot training was successfully delivered in April, 7-8. Among the first trained LSP facilitator’s there were nine educators, consultants, business coaches and trainers.  The programme was delivered in Russian language and attracts participants not only from Ukraine, but also from other CIS countries.

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A glimpse of history today.  What was the information included in the original LEGO SERIOUS PLAY patent description?

See below the records of the US patent no. 20020103774 A1, filed on 30 Jan 2001, issued on 1 Aug 2002 to EXECUTIVE DISCOVERY HOLDING CO., INC., DENMARK (subsidiary of LEGO).

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Patent - Figure no.1
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Patent – Figure no.1

Method and materials for encouraging creative thinking, planning or decision making

A program, method and materials for enhancing creative thinking, communication, decision-making and strategic planning. The program materials and method are based on the interplay between physical manipulation of symbolic objects and the effect of such manipulation on the ability to deal with actual objectives. For example, by physically manipulating building blocks, such as those having a stud configuration, (such as those sold under the LEGO® trademark), which are fastened together with studs from a top of one block fitting into receptacles on the bottom of another block, the thinking processes can be fostered and/or enhanced.

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