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Using Lego Serious Play for Change Management

In Serious Play Case Studies by Jeff TagleLeave a Comment

Originally posted on

About a month ago, the business services division of an FMCG company used Lego Serious Play as part of their Change Management initiative. The company has gone through a lot of changes in the previous months, and they want the employees to realize that in spite of these events, they are still in control of their careers regardless if it’s within the company or not.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

Lego Serious Play was used as a supplementary activity, specifically to apply the company’s career principles in their own and their team’s careers. The first group was composed of managers and mentors, and we focused on how their own career experiences can contribute to their team’s/mentee’s career development. Through Lego Serious Play, they were able to visualize how their own career can affect their team’s career, hence we were able to establish steps moving forward as to how to address the development of their teams and/or mentees.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

The second group was made up of tenured rank-and-file employees who more or less had a positive outlook on the changes that happened.  We explored on how we can bridge the gap from their current career situation to their ideal one. From there, action plans were formulated and committed to.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

The third, however, had a relatively negative outlook on these changes, hence some of them have handed in their resignation letters (one person was in his last week on the job!). We focused more on the obstacles that were hindering them from moving into their ideal career situation. They realized that these obstacles can be turned around and be used as stepping stones, or even inspirations, to reach their ideal career situation. One commented that they already know what they needed to do, it’s just a matter of what pushes them to make them do it. Lego Serious Play was a first step in committing to their own career development. Another even rescinded her resignation letter and will be staying on instead.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

The fourth group was the “lightest” group since they were new employees (2 weeks to 4 months on the job) and wasn’t directly affected by the changes. Similar to the second group, we focused on bridging the gap from their current career situation to their ideal career situation. Action plans and commitments were also made after the session.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

As my “first” Lego Serious Play session, I have learned a lot about the process. It made me realize how important breaks were, as some participants can be completely drained after a number of challenges. Though they may be engaged through the builds and their sharing, it’s important to retain their focus while waiting for their turn, or when they are already done sharing.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY case study by Jeff Tagle

Lego Serious Play wasn’t designed to elicit certain “right” answers, but it can align mindsets towards a certain direction with carefully planned questions and follow-up discussions. And aligning (or re-aligning) mindsets is important in managing change.

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Understanding Values: A LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshop for diverse teams

In Serious Play Case Studies by Tatiana Gavrilova2 Comments

This workshop took place at IACCM-SIETAR Austria-CEMS conference, devoted to contemporary approaches in training and education for cross-cultural competence at Vienna University of Economics and Business. IMG_393412034392_914751428574551_8278330066346974874_o

Business companies, education institutions and communities continue facing the international development challenges, resulting from absence of cultural awareness and corresponding skills. The gap between academic ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ in real life is not covered either.

10420013_920318181351209_5535880320922460966_nWhat are the methods that would support the cultural awareness and develop the skills?

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as an alternative facilitation method can close the gap between ‘knowing’ and actual performance. The method with 100% participation principle is enormously inclusive.

wiennaIt combines the team building with hands-on communication and collaboration skills development, which are essential and quite specific for diverse teams. Therefore the method is highly effective for the diverse students’ and business teams.


We used an hour to focus on individual values and challenges and start a shared landscape discussion. One of the participants commented:  “If it would be without bricks, I would have never shared so much”. The method proved to work successfully in-the-field.  The ‘theory’ was left to further individual reflection over the culture landscape models including diverse voices and values.

Corporate/organizational culture negotiation process is important for the team unity. Achieving the detailed understanding of common values and careful handling of individual interpretations is essential for taking ethical team decisions in IMG_3914future.

We were three teams of academics, business trainers and education specialists. All of us are working with cross-cultural theme, diverse teams and diverse student communities. Initially 12 people signed up, but with the bricks on the table the workshop started as two tables of 12; the next day an additional workshop took place.


We are to develop the theme of values and organizational culture in future as the method can provide effective training solutions for multinational companies, international organizations and diverse student communities.

Tatiana Gavrilova


Come to Hotel LEGOLAND® and become certified Trained Facilitator in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® !

In Serious Play Training by Micael BuckleLeave a Comment

Become certified Trained Facilitator in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® LEGOLAND_Hotel_&_Conference_logo_pos_black
at HOTEL LEGOLAND® in February 2016. 

You can get the education facilitated in English or Danish by IntHRface.

IntHRface offers an education in facilitation of the innovative process tool LEGO® Serious Play® for you who wants to develop your organization or are working with management, facilitating or processes. 

Click here for more information about the event in English
Click here for more information about the event in Danish

For more information please contact: 
Lone Sofia Vivike:
Micael Buckle:


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LEGO is Not a Game!

In Serious Play Discussion by Julian KeaLeave a Comment

This post appeared originally at microTOOL GmbH Berlin

From the very start playing is important for our development: with dolls, building blocks and other toys we re-enact happenings, relationships and ideas. If you have ever tried to disturb children during playing, you know, how focused they can get. With lots of emotional closeness and ambition, with own rules and clear judgment they are fixated on the scene. When they play, they speak with themselves – even when there is no one around. Playing supports logical thinking and communication. On top it has the power to make us self-confident and happy.

Would it not make sense to give a little bit of this spirit into our meeting rooms, so colleagues connect enthusiastically and resourcefully in lively sessions? Playing is often considered as an end in itself or as an activity to pass the time, objections arise: “In our meetings we talk about hard facts and decisions. We have no time to play around.“ My argument is: How good and effective are your meetings really? Most business meetings are often painful, chaotic and at the end without a result. Patrick M. Lencioni calls this “Death by Meeting”. He comes to the conclusion that we need an encouraging and engaging communication culture to create useful results.

With LEGO bricks to better results

In the mid-1990s the former CEO of the LEGO Group Kjeld K. Kristiansen and the two Swiss professors Johan Roos and Bar Victor looked for a better way to create business strategies. They started to combine business related questions with the imaginativeness of employees and bricks – today LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. It is a participative problem-solving facilitation method, during which the participants answer questions with the help of LEGO models.

The process of a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop is explained quickly: The facilitator asks a question. The participants built in a limited time a LEGO model, which incorporates their answer. Afterwards, each person explains the model to the entire group. The gathered information are reflected mutually.

It is the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitator’s job to craft highly relevant questions for the attendants and to watch over this sequence of question-building-sharing-reflection. Furthermore, he defines if individual models, shared models or connections between models are to be built.

With questions like: „Has this brick a meaning? Is there a meaning for this brick being transparent or this specific color?“ LEGO models are explicitly explored. This clarification helps to not misunderstand or misinterpret the model from others. And through always questioning the model, the builder is not cross-questioned – a substantial advantage of the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method. During the dialogue details emerge which would possibly not be expressed otherwise. This active listening and enquiring generates a high positive experience for the participants. It often leads to much better communication after such a workshop. With relevant information, feedback and solution focused debates participants create new insights, knowledge and alternative solutions.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY – promoting dialogue with models

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY – promoting dialogue with models

No bullet points and backs to the wall – but bricks to click

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY models are three dimensional and better to understand than for instance a presentation. As it is easier for us to understand, see and feel a new apartment three dimensional than two dimensional, while looking at the floor plan. With models which are visible throughout the workshop, the participants are constantly confronted. The answers cannot be ignored any more.

To use the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method requires a courageous client who truly wants to hear the answers to the questions raised. Imagine the following assignment: A team which is located throughout the country get together for a strategy meeting. During the last months the department was exposed to more and more expectations and new assignments. The workshop goal is to define the teams success factors for the future work and to improve the motivation by focusing.

After a short introduction into the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method the participants develop individual models as answer to the question: Who are you and what characterizes your contribution best? The next question is: What characterizes our team? This time a shared identity model is build. This step may take up to an hour. The participants discuss the status quo, their strengths and what makes the team tick. During the next phase questions focusing on the outside world are asked: “How are we perceived from your colleagues in other departments? What influences our work? Either totally new models are built or already existing models are extended – depending on the workshop concept.

Slowly a whole landscape of LEGO models is created, so to speak the visible thought framework of the participants. With this visualization one can fearless simulate unusual or uncomfortable scenarios to develop optimal solutions. In the third part of the workshop the participants map their aspirations: How do we want to work in the future? How do we want to be seen? What services will we offer? And how does this relate to the status quo?

Questions around team development, strategies, projects and business models are possible. Two remarks:

  • Complex situations and connections cannot be made visible within two to three hours. Therefore, plan enough time.
  • A poorly moderated workshop stays at best playful. Please be aware to choose an experienced LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitator. Best would be, that he brings along further methods and a proven track record.

For the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method as well as for other workshop methods counts: If the workshop is badly lead, the participants will not use this method again with confidence. Bad experiences stay in ones mind and this could mean for LEGO SERIOUS PLAY: the participant will not touch a brick again outside of the children’s room. Then the following statement of the Irish Nobel Price- and Oscar-winner George B. Shaw applies: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Pick a brick and make a point!

Let’s face a fact: What the participants built and explain during a workshop with the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method was already there before the workshop. Maybe spread in the heads, maybe vaguely discussed or not combined in a shared vision.

When bullet points, illuminated walls and experts in the spotlight with their back to the wall are not enough, remember the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method: round after round focused and genuine answers are created and new knowledge emerges. You can experiment with possible solutions in a save environment and this is the breeding ground of little as well as disruptive innovations.

No, the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method is not suitable for all questions nor for all meetings. But if every participant needs a voice and must be heard for further development and if you need to get hold of every idea in the room to create new solutions, I recommend: Bricks not cookies! Then a workshop with the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method creates more understanding, engagement and communication.

Should you have any questions or if you want to experience LEGO SERIOUS PLAY yourself, why not come to my next LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Meetup in Berlin: or visit me at