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

April 14, 2014 in Serious Play Case Studies

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

December 4, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

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

November 17, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

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

October 6, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

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

October 5, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

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

August 26, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

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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Enriching Education in Croatia – a LSP Case Study

August 24, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

Rethink your playground - Resortera on Lego Serious Play

Sometimes all what is needed during complex processes is a small push. This was the case when Resortera had the opportunity to contribute to the journey of a local group guided by the common idea of enriching education in Croatia in order to motivate leadership and empower children.

Approach and process

This group of professionals passed a long divergent and critical phase and it was ready to be challenged with its next step. It was a good timing, they wanted to explore more and clearly define the characteristics of their next movement. A special tailor-made approach to develop new ways of understanding the challenge they face was designed. The session was based on the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® materials and methodology, an experiential process, a learning by doing methodology that get people focus on the process of building with hands. The first part of the session was spent introducing the methodology and getting the people confident on working with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® materials. During the second part an understanding of personal identities was established. This very important second part was the based for the last part when they explore and map out possible characteristics of the next step they want to develop.


The enthusiasms and energy brought by the group to the table matched the hands-on essence of the methodology. The construction of individual metaphorical 3-D models in a playful manner unleashed their creative imagination. Later, they developed an interesting shared model of what the group designed to be the final shape of their next big step. Having the opportunity to listen to every member, shearing ideas, assumptions and understandings the team engaged in rich dialogues working out a tangible solution all together.

Lego Serious Play in Moscow

August 24, 2013 in Serious Play Case Studies

LEGO Serious Play workshop in Moscow

We’ve played LEGO using LEGO Serious Play approach mixed with improvisation, coaching and creative thinking. The play helped to uncover LEGO tools opportunities for showing and sharing personal thoughts and vision in a group.  The scenario was build up of exercises that helped people build relations, break the ice, make introversive interpretations and share vision in a group.

We used LEGO as a tool for visualization and prototyping of interrelations between Me – My Clients – My Business.  One of the exercises named Business Triangle showed, how people change and update their vision while building it with LEGO Bricks.

During the workshop we realized, that LEGO is a powerful tool for deep reflection and building effective dialogue in pairs or teams. Mixed with coaching exercises and facilitation practices, LEGO gave people an opportunity not to make reflection of their previous and present experience in business, but to build (both mentally and physically) a bridge to their future vision.

For our team this was an eye-opening experiment that revealed strong correlations between personal identity with its strengths and weaknesses and business vision.  LEGO helped people uncover their pains and fears, make positive propositions, how to solve wicked problems, and what’s more important, how to use other participants experience and visions to make their own ideas better!

Watch our LEGO Serious Play? photostream on Flickr