Category Archives: Serious Play Case Studies

Case studies of successful Lego Serious Play facilitation events

Managing Stuckness with Lego Serious Play


Students’ Union of the University of the Arts London published a short case on Managing Stuckness with Lego Serious Play

So, apparently Lego Serious Play (LSP) is an actual thing. I signed up to this workshop mainly because it had lego in the title, and then I was quite surprised with my experience.

LSP was developed by the Lego company as a way to create a new market for lego. It is a process that was designed for the corporate and business environment to “enhance innovation and business performance.” But the principles can be applied to wide range of situations. This workshop being an example. Usually when you play with lego, its very literal, you build a house, a car etc. So the first step was to change the way we play, moving from literal construction to metaphorical construction. So we started out with a few warm-up exercises to get us used to playing with our pile of lego in a more abstract, less literal way.

The point of this workshop was to understand ‘stuckness’. Being stuck is something that designers, creatives, and pretty much all people experience at some point, and there are a whole range of reasons people can get stuck: stress, fear, lack of knowledge, and each person has their own personal reasons, to do with how we each work and learn.

The next exercise was to build a model which describes us as creatives, our process, our positives and our negatives: the reasons we get stuck. After a short while we went round the room and each person described their model. It was incredible, when building these models, you invest meaning into each block, and in putting them together, you construct a complete image of yourself, out of lego.. (I know, sounds crazy right). Continue reading

Councillors get serious about building blocks, All you need is Lego – by Jo McKenzie-McLean

Central Otago WasteBusters manager Glenys Byrne gets adults to use their imagination with Lego Serious Play.
Central Otago WasteBusters manager Glenys Byrne gets adults to use their imagination with Lego Serious Play.


A Central Otago waste manger is proving lego isn’t just for children. Glenys Byrne, general manager of Central Otago WasteBusters, held a Lego Serious Play (LSP) workshop earlier this month with a group of people from WasteBusters and the Central Otago District Council, including councillor Clair Higginson and Bernie Scurr from health and safety.

Byrne said she was one of only a few facilitators nationwide trained to hold the LSP workshop, which was designed to enhance business performance through building with lego bricks. LSP had been used by organisations such as Nasa and Coca-Cola, she said.

“The bricks allow people to think freely, and express themselves as they create, the process is not reliant on the typical verbal jousting that goes on in meetings, or filling up a blank page, instead, participants use a carefully chosen selection of bricks and a unique process where people ‘think through their fingers’ – unleashing insight, inspiration and imagination.”

There was a bit of head-scratching around the table when the group was asked to create something out of lego bricks to reflect a sustainable future in Central Otago. However, with only five minutes to complete the task, the participants quickly starting building wind turbines, vegetable gardens, electric cars, solar-powered homes and wind operated irrigation systems.

Higginson said the workshop was insightful and challenged them to use their own creativity, work in pairs and then share their visions as a group: “I found the hands-on part of it helped get over anxieties we may have had in speaking up in the group.” Scurr said the exercise reinforced how different everyone was and how differently everyone thought.


Science at Play: NSF Funds University Research on Nanotechnology Ethics using LSP

Engineering professor Candace Chan, a nanoscientist, checks in with undergraduate students Ruben Hernandez (aeronautics major) and Dylan Baker (mechanical engineering major) as they work on their LEGO models
Engineering professor Candace Chan, a nanoscientist, checks in with undergraduate students Ruben Hernandez (aeronautics major) and Dylan Baker (mechanical engineering major) as they work on their LEGO models

From: (Nanowerk News) Students at Arizona State University are learning how to play.

ASU undergraduates have the opportunity to enroll in a challenging course this fall, designed to re-introduce the act of play as a problem-solving technique. The course is offered as part of the larger project, Cross-disciplinary Education in Social and Ethical Aspects of Nanotechnology, which received nearly $200,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Nano Undergraduate Education program.

Engineering professor Candace Chan, a nanoscientist, checks in with undergraduate students Ruben Hernandez (aeronautics major) and Dylan Baker (mechanical engineering major) as they work on their LEGO models during a Feb. 24 pilot workshop.

The project is the brainchild of Camilla Nørgaard Jensen, a doctoral scholar in the ASU Herberger Institute’s design, environment and the arts doctoral program. Participants will use an approach called LEGO Serious Play to solve what Jensen calls “nano-conundrums” – ethical dilemmas arising in the field of nanotechnology.

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LEGO Serious Play business case: express exercise for SAP education initiative

Lego Serious Play Exercise with SAP
Lego Serious Play Exercise with SAP

SAP is one of the world-leading corporations in system integration. But the one distinctive feature makes it a real leader in its field. For more than 30 years they promote and use design thinking as an approach to innovation development. Creative intelligence and design thinking are already parts of SAP innovation culture in many countries where it operates.

For the SAP CEP education initiative for Russia and CIS biggest clients, SAP approached Wonderfull lab to make experimental exercises with Lego Serious Play methodology.

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Global Leaders Play Well at the UN Summit in New York City

Global Leaders Playing with Lego Serious Play
Global Leaders Playing with Lego Serious Play

Members of the North America Strategicplay® Group were on-site in New York City for the United Nations Leadership Summit. You may have already heard that LEGO® presented the United Nations with a large LEGO® UN Model to thank the UN Secretary-General for his work in the area of education for children. It was wonderful to see Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, representing the LEGO® Group, present the model to Ban Ki-moon, who placed the final brick with the UN flag onto the model. Huge excitement surrounded this moment!

It was a big honour to attend and to have the opportunity to facilitate using LEGO®’s methodology and materials. Four members of our team joined the LEGO® Foundation Team to facilitate at the education fair. The discussion revolved around the serious issues of Human Rights, Education for Children, and Caring for the Environment. Global leaders who attended built their ideas and added them to a large shared model of these United Nations focus topics.

To read the full article please follow the link to Strategicplay® North America website

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Lego Serious Play in Classroom

Lego Serious Play for Education - by David Gauntlett

Teacher Paula White has written in her blog Amplifying Minds how she regularly uses Lego Serious Play in her classroom.

Hasn’t everyone played with Legos at some point? Well, the answer to that is no … of course. But it surprises me when I pull out lego bricks in my classroom and boys say they haven’t. I know, that’s sexist, but it still surprises me. I also am pleasantly surprised when girls say things like, “I LOVE Legos!” I know that’s sexist, but I do hope the fact I am using them with both genders will help kids not do as I do when they get older.

About 10 years ago, I was trained as a Lego Serious Play facilitator. What that means is I got to play with Lego figures and bricks as an expert led a bunch of us through some play work that really heightened our own sense of what it is we were thinking and feeling, and we discovered many things about ourselves, our teams, our beliefs and our questions. It’s an amazing process, and one I use periodically in my classroom. It’s one of those tools that just scaffolds some kids to talk and share things they otherwise might not have…but the fact that they are talking through metaphors or some model, or something they build, they more openly share their thinking. They are thinking while building, and sometimes their hands take over the thinking–and build a connection that might not have been conscious at the time of building.

So, as part of the application to become certified as a National Board Certified teacher, I used that technique when I was videotaping myself. I was targeting one child for my analysis, but the other one garnered my attention when something she said went against everything I thought I knew about this kid! Turns out there is a side of this incredibly confident, happy-go-lucky, talented, smart kid that is not so confident or happy-go-lucky. I had no clue, and would probably never have found out had I not used a non-traditional tool/task with her. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to help others see what I know, so we can provide the support this kid needs to flourish and grow.

BUT, one of the cool parts of being videotaped, is that right after the lesson, I sat down with the person running the camera and asked for feedback, what I could have done differently, how she saw the lesson and responses, and I got immediate questions to reflect upon, comments to think about and some criticism and kudos to consider. Good teachers seek that feedback…and know it needs to be specific to be helpful. Lego Serious Play provides that feedback immediately and it also opens up whole other avenues of thinking to go down. Every teacher needs to experience it–and use it.

Business Model Generation with LEGO

Cloud Strategy Lego
Cloud Strategy Lego

The ongoing construction of LEGO models stimulate otherwise inactive parts of the brain which boosts creativity. The result is a great teamwork and reduced meeting times. The team leaves the full day workshop with extra portions of energy (unlike brain-sucking Marathon meetings). The process creates consensus among participants and seamlessly guides the team to work out the details of the strategy in one go, together. Everybody’s perspective is considered – there’s no such thing as a silent or loud LEGO player, everyone constructs. It might still feel crazy to play LEGO in the boardroom. If the promises above are true, would you try it at work?

I’ve recently conducted a workshop with a small group of young entrepreneurs who already got established businesses, a relatively large customer and user base. They came to meet me and ask my advice on their SaaS business strategy to grow and scale. The answers were already in their minds and LEGO helped them surface. This particular exercise consisted of building their ideal customers, themselves and relations, dynamics between from LEGO. It’s amazing to re-discover from time to time that every little brick and figure has a meaning in a LEGO model and these meanings come from the builder’s unconscious mind as metaphors. Asking open-ended questions about the model they constructed, these young entrepreneurs discovered several opportunities to differentiate their businesses from the competition, further innovate their business model, discover new customer groups and understand where to focus their attention to achieve all these great things.

Here’s a feedback from the workshop:

“I joined David in Bucharest for a workshop on which we had little information about. We knew it was about Cloud only. He created for us an amazing experience on how to look at our business. For a couple of hours we played and we had incredible fun, and David observed and asked questions that helped us better understand where we are, where we should be, and what actions could we take. Through games he gave us a different perspective on our Value Proposition and positioning. However, what I am not sure David knows, is he gave us a fun way and an incredible tool to play with, to shape not only our business perspectives but personal ones as well. Thank you! It was one of the best business training moments I experienced lately, and ‘building worlds’ together was surely fun and insightful”

Originally from: Cloud Strategy Blog

Lego Serious Play at a Job Interview

Lego Serious Play for a Job Interview

Today, I want to share with you a fantastic experience helping a Human Resource department with job interviews. In my years of experience I participated in a few job interviews and always had the feeling that I am getting ‘prepared’ answers. With all the information we have in the internet, it is not very difficult to find the answers that any hiring manager is looking for.

I don’t have a very traditional approach when I run interviews. With the time, I tried always to put the interviewee out of the comfort zone with some ‘crazy’ questions to get real answers. Another challenge is evaluating soft skills? There are lots of tests for that but they take time, they are cumbersome for the Human Resource departments to handle and they can also be broken by experienced interviewees.

Hence – I started to discuss about it with the Human Resource team, and I found that people with +10 years of experiences doing interviews had the same concerns. With this in mind I introduced LEGO Serious Play to improve the quality of a job interview to:

  • Break the ice very fast in the interview and avoid ‘prepared’ answers
  • See some abstract behaviors such as: creativity, issue resolving, innovation, openness, personality, leadership and collaboration
  • Replacing the ‘conducting’ by someone with ‘constructing together’ by taking the discussion of the results to the model.

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