Flow Experience in Design Thinking and Practical Synergies with Lego Serious Play

September 22, 2018 in Serious Play Library

Creative Research Journal published this article by Dirk J. Primus and Stephan Sonnenburg on Flow experience relations with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology.

The flow experience can be an important precursor to high levels of creativity and innovation. Prior work has identified and conceptualized the key elements of the flow experience in cocreative activities as individual flow corridor, individual flow feeling, and group flow. Surprisingly, the flow experience is underrepresented in theory and practice of design thinking. In this empirical study, the flow experience at the individual and group level was investigated in a 1-day design thinking exercise. The findings from partial least squares (PLS) modeling of 230 observations confirm previously untested conjectures that (a) the elements of individual and group flow experience were prevalent and highly correlated in the design thinking activities and (b) the nature of the design thinking task had an impact on the flow experience. Finally, results confirm that Lego Serious Play skills-building as a creative warm-up had a positive effect on 2 of the 3 flow experience elements: individual flow feeling and individual flow corridor.

You may read the full article here.

Reflective boot camp: adapting LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in higher education

September 20, 2018 in Serious Play Library

Reflective Practice journal published this article written by Mary Anne Peabody and Susan Noyes focusing on LEGO SERIOUS PLAY use in higher education classrooms.


This qualitative study investigates the experiences of using an adaptation of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as a reflective practice pedagogy with occupational therapy graduate-level students and faculty. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is an innovative facilitated methodology that uses brick-building and metaphoric storytelling as a form of communication and problem-solving. Participants engaged in a four-step kinesthetic experience as a means to achieve a serious objective. Results of the study indicated affirmative participant outcomes that included: accelerated group cohesion; an appreciation for inclusive learning where student voice was amplified; a language for emotional content and deeper meaning-making; and an experiential process using materials that appealed to various learning styles. A small number of participants experienced minor tension with the process provoking unanticipated reflective learning. The results of this study indicate that using the kinesthetic brick modeling methodology for reflective practice is a promising higher education pedagogical option.

Keywords: Reflective practicekinesthetic learningLEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®reflective practitionerreflective pedagogy

Bloc Thinking interview with Michel Cloosterman

September 17, 2018 in Serious Play Discussion

Jonathan Gall and Werner Puchert have recorded an interview with LSP facilitator Michel Cloosterman about his experience as a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY professional: Unlocking human potential one brick at a time. Download the MP3 file of the podcast here to listen in your device (30MB).

Brick economy

September 12, 2018 in Serious Play Discussion

Australian IT News Portal has written this piece about LEGO Serious Play case at ANZ.

Forget the hype around the hundreds of millions invested in start-up hubs and incubators by Australian banks.

If you want serious nerd cred, LEGO is where it’s at. Just ask ANZ.

In a sign of just how essential it’s become for major corporates to be hip to rapid development and agile, the Melbourne-headquartered bank is shouting the success of its new LEGO Serious Play (LSP) workshops as part of its broader cultural shift.

ANZ recently revealed it’s deployed LSP through its SHOUT charity and fundraising payments service and recently put university students sent there on assignment through intensive brick therapy.

The goal? In the case of students and ANZ staff, it’s coming up with a common vision and purpose for their coursework – and working together. The stuff everyone struggles with.

According to ANZ technology project manager Luke McManus who’s leading the brick brigade, ANZ’s LEGO-led efforts are about more effective team building and collaboration.

The kind that enables cross disciplinary or business line teams to interact and generate agreement and understanding of differences without the usual corporate tick-box baggage of meetings.

“For my first session the challenge was a new team of uni students joining a small team at ANZ on their first day, who did not know each other well. They were about to embark on a two week assignment together,” McManus told ANZ’s Bluenotes corporate content play.

(For anyone sceptical of the bank’s commitment to the brick, the ANZ’s thematically dedicated post leaves no doubts.)

“I could see the power and potential of LSP – from being able to break open the typical meeting or problem solving workshop – to applying LSP to Agile ceremonies and New Ways of Working (eg: Retrospectives),” McManus said.

“We started with a round table of introductions which were a little awkward and had me a feeling apprehensive about how the session would proceed. The students were nervous, shy and softly spoken, so I wasn’t sure how the next steps would go.”

McManus observed that “to get the team around the LSP concept” he kicked off the session with a short video from PAUSE Fest featuring his “LSP trainer and mentor” Michael Fearne “to explain why the method is so powerful followed by a quick overview of how the process works (Question, Build, Share and Capture).”

While true believers in Powerpoint, Excel and other death-by-deck formats might sneer and snigger at the notion of big banks hiring Lego gurus, Fearne’s core point is that corporate meeting orthodoxy too often squashes collaborative minds and productive ideas.

That’s because meetings are usually dominated by analytical extroverts.

To counteract that bias and engage and include people – especially the two thirds quiet majority Fearne reckons are introverts or those who thrive on visual or kinaesthetic cues – the bricks come out.

Once a quick methodology induction is away, McManus says it’s “onto the fun stuff”.

“A quick reminder to think in story and metaphor, as well as to “just build” instead of sitting, thinking, pondering and planning. Just start to build and the ideas will start to materialise in your hands!”

In blunt terms, that means people temporarily forgetting corporate convention and zoning-out on the bricks for a while as they try to assemble new approaches and disassemble what doesn’t work.

ANZ is far from the only local corporate using LSP, with Fearne’s client brag book featuring the likes of Google, Telstra, Australia Post, the Victorian government and infrastructure heavyweight Aurecon as well as KPMG and EY.

Fearne explains on his website that the real value of LSP is about initiating new ways of communicating and problem solving rather than adhering to lower risk corporate norms like doing things quicker or cost cutting.

“What I do takes more time, costs more money and there is a greater risk of failure than going with a standard managerial, command and control approach,” Fearne says.

“But here’s the key insight, these companies are willing to invest the extra time and money for the ability to look at the problem differently. And to open up a path to a different solution. That’s why they win.”

The biggest winner, of course, is LEGO itself.

The Danish brick maker now runs a dedicated product line of corporate kits that make the prices of Star Wars or Dr Who franchises look like stellar value for money.

Even though LEGO officially open sourced the LSP learning concept in 2010, it’s doing a fine trade in special corporate branded brick packs that save agile consultants from slumming it with demanding kids in the toy section of Kmart.

A single SERIOUS PLAY® (yep, it’s been trademarked) “Identity and Landscape Kit” comes in at $849.99, while a “Connections Kit” (yes, LEGO has an integration layer) is $799. That, the Danish company says, gets you enough bricks to keep 10-12 people occupied for one to two day workshops.

For those wanting to see what all the fuss is about, or maybe give their boss a hint, there’s a starter kit priced at $38 (214 pieces) which contains a “selection of special elements such as wheels, tires, windows, trees, mini figure parts, tubes, globes and small base plates”.

As for not leaving the sharpest, hardest bricks out for barefoot parents to excruciatingly step on in the middle of the night … well, that’s a life-long workshop.

Research project to examine the use of Lego Serious Play in solving challenges in multi-stakeholder groups

September 10, 2018 in Serious Play Library

A University of Lethbridge professor is looking for people to participate in a research study where they will get the opportunity to learn about the LEGO®SERIOUS PLAY® facilitation method and use it to work through a hypothetical problem as a group.

A University of Lethbridge research news website has written about the following LEGO Serious Play undertaking.

Dr. Adriane MacDonald (BMgt ’09), a Dhillon School of Business faculty member, says the end goal is to build understanding about how multi-stakeholder groups can navigate their communication challenges for more effective problem solving.

She is collaborating with Dr. Stephen Dann, a marketing professor at the Australian National University and a trained Lego Serious Play facilitator. The Lego Serious Play method — a facilitated meeting, communication and problem-solving process — has been used since the 1990s to stimulate creative thinking. Participants are led through a series of questions and they each build a 3D Lego model in response to the questions using specially selected Lego elements. The models are then used as the basis for group discussion, problem solving and decision making. MacDonald wants to investigate the potential of sense-making tools, such as those used in the Lego Serious Play method, to facilitate effective communication and problem solving in groups working on a social cause where members have diverse backgrounds.

“My research is about building capacity for effective collaboration in multi-stakeholder partnerships,” says MacDonald. “This project with Lego Serious Play is looking at how sense-making and other facilitation tools can influence the level of shared understanding, creativity and integrative problem solving among collaborators. The partnerships that I look at are focused on addressing social challenges such as community sustainability.”

Multi-stakeholder partnerships include two or more partners from each of the business, government and nonprofit sectors and are typically formed to address a complex social challenge. The partners often have diverse professional and personal backgrounds, varying degrees of expertise and different experiences with and knowledge about the problem the partnership was formed to address. Such differences can create barriers to effective communication and thus problem solving. MacDonald wants to find new ways for individuals collaborating in multi-stakeholder partnerships to overcome these barriers.

Those who sign up to participate in a workshop will receive some training in Lego Serious Play from Dann before they tackle a hypothetical problem in a group setting. Participants will receive light refreshments and $15 for participating. The workshops are open to anyone over the age of 18. Those interested in taking part can sign up for the workshop of their choice, either at Markin Hall or the Dr. Foster James Penny Building.

“It’s fun, interactive and participants will get to meet new people,” says MacDonald.

Dann, when he visited the U of L last year, collaborated with Agility, the U of L’s innovation hub, on workshops for entrepreneurs. This year, again in conjunction with Agility, Dann will deliver guest lectures in several classrooms and facilitate a Lego Serious Play event on Saturday, Sept. 15. The event is open to the public and goes from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register online at Discover Lethbridge with Lego Serious Play.

LEGO? Are you serious?

August 30, 2018 in Serious Play Discussion

The following blog post was written on ANZ Bluenotes website by Melissa Currie, Visual Production Editor, bluenotes here.

You probably wouldn’t blink an eyelid upon hearing a revolutionary organisation has built its success on innovative thinking. Or seemingly whacky work places. So it’s no shock Google is using gameplay to overcome complex workplace problems.

But hearing of professionals in traditional, behemoth organisations such as Qantas, Ernst and Young and Accenture playing with Lego? You can’t be serious.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation.” 

Dead serious. There’s even a name:  Lego Serious Play (LSP). Workshops are being run across workplaces as the value serious play delivers is slowly being recognised.

Credible? Yes – according to Plato: “you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation.”

The term serious play refers to a number of playful inquiry and innovation methods that serve as a vehicle for complex problem-solving. The LSP methodology in particular has been popularised in recent years due to its malleability in adapting to different workplace needs.

Various organisations are beginning to recognise that benefits it can deliver in:

  • Building deeper and broader understanding of a challenge or strategy;
  • Preparing a team to deliver a solution in a complex, unpredictable environment;
  • Generating new solutions to complex challenges; and
  • Uniting a team around a common goal.

Growing body

There is a growing body of both academic and popular literature supporting the view engaging in playful processes and applying a playful, open mindset can foster creativity and innovation. In his book Creative explorations: new approaches to identities and audiences David Gauntlett writes “the non-judgmental environment of play, it is claimed, is more likely to foster surprising and innovative ideas”.

Serious play methods can be used as vehicles for engaging workplace teams in the human-centred design (also known as Design Thinking) process of empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing.

While the concept of ‘serious play’ may sound like an oxymoron, it comes with an intention which goes beyond just having fun. The serious aspect requires focus on solving the problem at hand; whilst the play aspect encourages imaginative solutions through pushing boundaries towards potential possibilities.

The sum of these two components of ‘seriousness’ and ‘playfulness’ foster a deeper engagement for the group working through the complexity of the problem, by placing people in what is known as a ‘state of flow’. Colloquially, also known as ‘being in the zone’, flow is characterised by complete absorption in the activity and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.

LSP is one of the best known examples of serious play. As the Danish brick maker says, “The Lego Serious Play methodology is an innovative process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research which shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, the Lego Serious Play deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization.”

bluenotes sat down for a chat with Luke McManus, ANZ Technology Project Manager to talk about the experience of running his first LSP workshop.

MC: “Thanks for chatting to bluenotes today Luke.”

LM: “No worries Mel. My pleasure.”

“So can you tell us a bit about how you got started in Lego Serious Play?”

“Melbourne. These types of planned events happen regularly across the city. Meetups usually have the aim of connecting like-minded people, serving as a networking platform or if you’re the organiser – being a great way to establish yourself as a “go-to” person in your industry.

This particular meetup I attended brought together leaders in industries such as Digital, Experience Design, Emerging Technology and Innovation.

The meetup was full of energy and hands on. From the minute we sat down, we were encouraged to touch and play with the Lego and start building. After seeing the case studies and videos of LSP in action with real clients – I could see the power and potential of LSP – from being able to break open the typical meeting or problem solving workshop – to applying LSP to Agile ceremonies and New Ways of Working (eg: Retrospectives).”

“And how did you decide ANZ would benefit from LSP and its methodologies?”

“I met Charlie and Christine from SHOUT at one of the Design Thinking Games workshops I also help facilitate for Smiling Mind – Shout was a sponsor. Shout is “changing the world gives” enabling charities to take donations electronically for free.

I am all about social impact – so after meeting the SHOUT team, I introduced them to LSP, and asked if there were any ways we could use it with their team? With a new cohort of students about to join the team for a two week assignment, I thought that would be an ideal opportunity to use LSP.

LSP is a great method to use to set a shared vision/understanding, with each participant building their own version of the vision, then combining their creations into a “group model” which results in a shared vision, created and interpreted by the team – with everyone on the same page”

“And what was the experience of running your first LSP workshop like? ”

“For my first session the challenge was a new team of Uni students joining a small team at ANZ on their first day, who did not know each other well. They were about to embark on a two week assignment together.

We started with a round table of introductions which were a little awkward and had me a feeling apprehensive about how the session would proceed. The students were nervous, shy and softly spoken, so I wasn’t sure how the next steps would go.

To get the team around the LSP concept, I played a short video from PAUSE Fest – featuring Michael Fearne, my LSP trainer and mentor, to explain why the method is so powerful followed by a quick overview of how the process works (Question, Build, Share and Capture). After that, we moved onto the fun stuff! A quick reminder to think in story and metaphor, as well as to “just build” instead of sitting, thinking, pondering and planning. Just start to build and the ideas will start to materialise in your hands!”

“And how did they go? ”

“The results were awesome, as well as each person’s explanation of their model. I started with a participant who had lots of confidence, to set the scene and everyone followed. Sparks of creativity and confidence stared to emerge.

After everyone shared their individual models, I asked the team a question: “How often have you been in a meeting with eight people, and asked a question, and received eight unique and creative answers?” The answer was, and usually is, “never”. It’s important to show and remind participants of this as they start to see the power of LSP unfold.”

“To wrap up, what was the biggest benefit you noticed from running this session? ”

“Towards the end, I could see the teams starting to interact, discuss and agree (and also respectfully disagree) on the shared vision.

Some great results and themes emerged and I genuinely feel this gave the team a massive step in the right direction towards collaboration, team development and establishment of shared values.”

“That’s excellent. Thanks for speaking to bluenotes “

LEGO Launch for InsightsNow

August 28, 2018 in Serious Play Discussion

The following news was published at MRweb website about the services of one of our community members Karen Lynch.

US-based behavioral research firm InsightsNow is rolling out a qualitative approach called PlayFULL Insights (PFI), which uses LEGO bricks to ‘build stories’ in response to a moderator’s questions.

LEGO Launch for InsightsNowPFI draws on ‘prospective thinking’ – identified by psychologists as ‘System 3’, where motives for decisions are based on anticipatory emotions such as desire, hope, fear and intrigue. This is opposed to System 1 where people make decisions fast using intuitive, more impulsive mental processes and System 2 where decisions are made more slowly using rational processes.

Developed in 2016 by Karen Lynch, now the firm’s Senior Director of Qualitative Insights, and Siri Lynn of Idea Exchange, PFI uses a facilitated thinking, communication and problem-solving technique known as LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. Participants are involved in rounds of play, using Lego bricks to create models that represent anticipated outcomes and feelings about projected use moments; describe how conceptual products and anticipated solutions might be applied; illustrate what products and solutions might look like; or indicate points and counter points to various positioning or logical statements. According to the firm, this play-based, behavioral methodology helps accelerate the discovery of solutions to business challenges.

Dave Lundahl, the firm’s founder and CEO, comments: ‘We are thrilled to welcome PlayFULL Insights into the InsightsNow toolbox of unique, behavioral and psychological research approaches. The approach correlates with and enhances our other agile techniques, all with the goal of getting to insights faster for our clients’.

Web site: insightsnow.com

History: Copyright of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Methodology Process Elements

August 3, 2018 in About Lego Serious Play

There has been some confusion on who owned the original copyrights of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® application techniques and 4 Core Steps process. One of the LSP practitioners suggested recently “These elements are NOT – and have never been – the IP of the LEGO Group.” in a discussion taking place on one of the social media platforms. The person suggested that the IP of both of these fundamental LSP tools are his.

This claim is not true. In the post below I will explain that the both concepts were originally IP of the LEGO Group and based on the Open Source model, the both concepts are currently available for everybody to use without any restrictions.

Edited (8 August 2018) and added disclaimer. I have taken the photos of the excerpts of the respective materials here for informative purposes to demonstrate that LEGO has IP for the respective materials. The copyright of those materials belong to the LEGO Group. The information is hereby presented according to the LEGO generic trademark principles of “Fair Play

What is the “LSP core process” and what are “7 LSP Application Techniques”?

Lets start with definitions. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Core Process consists of 4 steps:

  1. Facilitator Poses the Questions
  2. Individuals Build a Model
  3. Individuals Tell Their Story
  4. Questions and Reflections

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Seven Application Techniques are:

  1. Building Individual Models
  2. Building Shared Models
  3. Creating a Landscape
  4. Making Connections
  5. Building a System
  6. Playing Emergence
  7. Extracting Simple Guiding Principles (SGP)

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Imaginopedia for Core Process

When you buy a LSP Starter Kit you will find in your package a small leaflet titled “Imaginopedia(TM) for Core Process”. When you open this material on the 2nd page you can see the 4-step core process consisting of those stages listed. Looking at the back side of this material you may find the text: “(C)2009 The LEGO Group.” It should be evident that the LEGO Group claims the copyright of the core process.

LEGO Group’s Lego Serious Play White Facilitator’s Manual

Lets also look at some historic materials because the person has suggested that many years ago those materials were not the IP of LEGO group.

During early LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training sessions the participants received several sets of materials from LEGO Systems Inc. (a subsidiary of LEGO Group).

One of the training handouts was a prominent white folder with insert papers carrying a generic title “Facilitator’s Manual”. On the cover of this folder it carried words: “LSP Core Process. Building Individual Models and Stories. Building Shared Models and Stories. Designing LSP Workshops.”

This handout was of a mixed text with sections filled with loose leafs. Intro to methodology. Detailed overview of training days. Facilitating the LSP process. Designing the LSP process. Science behind the LSP. Appendices. The only consistent feature of this handout was that at the bottom of EVERY page it made adamantly clear that the intellectual property of this material was held by LEGO.

Looking closely, LEGO Group has stated that the handouts are a Copyright of the LEGO Group (C) 2007 and that they have “All rights reserved worldwide”. Check the images of the respective tables of contents below.

On page “1-6” of the facilitator manual it displays the 7 Application Modules for LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (C) 2006 The LEGO Group, plus you can find that in the footer the material repeats again the statement “All rights reserved worldwide”. Look at the image below.

7 Application Modules - White Facilitator Manual (C) LEGO Group 2007

7 Application Modules – White Facilitator Manual (C) LEGO Group 2007

Likewise, on pages “2-2” and “2-3” the LEGO Group facilitator manual describes Four Core Steps in the LSP Process, at the footer of the page there is the statement (C) 2007 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE. Look at the image below

4 Steps Core Process - White Facilitator Manual (C) LEGO Group 2007

4 Steps Core Process – White Facilitator Manual (C) LEGO Group 2007


LEGO Group’s Lego Serious Play Black Facilitator’s Manual

The second source prepared in 2005 which demonstrates 7 LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Application techniques is so called “Black Facilitator’s Manual”, which is a somewhat more thorough material. When one reviews the black facilitator manual – LEGO has written that they own copyright for those materials since 2005.

It consists of a number of sections: Principles of LSP, Getting Started with Workshops, Skills Building, Real Time Strategy for the Enterprise, Real Time Strategy for the Beast, Real Time Strategy for the Team, Real Time Strategy for You, Window Process Technique and a number of annexes – materials for photocopying, handling practicalities, tips for selling LSP to executive audiences and summary flowcharts describing each of the applications in detail.

Starting to browse the material it is possible to observe the section on “Real Time Strategy”, which includes one after another all those 7 steps described above:

LEGO Group’s Imaginopedia for Applications from 2004

Finally, also “The Imaginopedia(TM) for LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Applications”, published in 2004 by The LEGO Group is straightforward in its copyright (see the back cover). Looking at its pages below it is again possible to find all 7 steps for the Application Techniques. See the photos of this material below.

So Who owns the IP for the LSP Core Process and Application Techniques?

LEGO Trademark Guidelines p. 1 the provides a full list of items LEGO has explicitly claimed under their own IP. The list includes both Imaginopedia(TM) brochures as well as Facilitator Manuals, i.e. the both materials that have included the 4-Step Core Process as well as 7 Application Techniques.

Read yourself and check whether the evidence presented above from the LEGO Group materials could be grounds to claim: “These elements are NOT – and have never been – the IP of the LEGO Group.”

What does this mean in practice?

Just to make things clear, yes, my view is that these materials are IP of the LEGO Group.

However, then again – in 2010 LEGO Group decided that the principles of methodology would be open source, i.e. anybody can use the method freely, develop it further and pass it on as long as they respect LEGO’s trademarks. This means that the methodology that was produced up to this given moment is no longer protected by the LEGO IP. The basic principles, the philosophy, and the materials can be used by anybody according to the Creative Commons “Attribution Share Alike” licence.

Who and how is entitled to use, train, develop with LEGO® Serious Play® methodology?

Very simple! Anybody is entitled to – provided that they follow the LEGO Serious Play Open-source guideline. LEGO Serious Play Open-source document p. 4 states: “LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® has been made available by the LEGO Group under a Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution Share Alike’: see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/“.

This license means that you are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
  • The licensor (LEGO) cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

You need to do this under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

It is as simple as: “1) You use, 2) you develop, 3) you pass it on to anybody else to use under the same terms.“

How do you give credit to LEGO Corporation?

Anybody can do what they like with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as long as they refer to original LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Open-source document and give exactly the same credit for the next developers. If you are in doubt how to best formulate it, you may just use the sentence:

“This approach/application/technique/model/roadmap/case builds on LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Open-source guideline made available by the LEGO® Group under a Creative Commons licence. Feel free to share and use under the same licence and enjoy playing seriously with bricks!” :-)

When and how do you give credit to others?

What is said above does not mean that anybody can do anything they want. When you start developing your own LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® stuff – it is really important to make a distinction to what are indeed proprietary materials.

In some instances some people have created their own particular LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® roadmaps of different workshops that make use of the principles, the philosophy and the materials. Somebody has used it for agile retrospectives. Somebody for job interviews, consumer mapping, user experience, business modelling etc.

Likewise – if you have attended somebody’s training or a conference presentation on LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® you are not allowed to use their training materials without permission.

So please make sure that you understand if somebody has created an application of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology toolset where they have weaved in their original ideas. If you are in doubt then get in touch with the authors, ask their permission and make sure that you will not violate their rights nor trust.

Co-creation with LEGO Serious Play in Classrooms

July 4, 2018 in Serious Play Library

Stephen Dann published in Australasian Marketing Journal a paper documenting his experience, reflection and results on using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology for co-creation at universities. The abstract of this paper is below:

Lego Serious Play was founded within the Lego Corporation in the mid-90s as a response to an unusual problem why a company that sold creativity by the kilo was struggling for market share, profit and new thinking. Built from the ground up as a make-or-break proposition, the LSP process is an industry strength business solution designed to create conducive conditions for problem recognition, knowledge creation, and shared understanding. Based on these condition, and the 2010 open source licence of the protocol, this paper outlines the Lego Serious Play process, the history and origin of the method, and the seven principles underpinning its operation. The paper then outlines the adaptation of the LSP method from industry to academy, to showcase how to bring the technique into the classroom. Educators can use the step by step guide to construct a classroom activity that draws on Lego Serious Play to further promote key graduate outcomes of communication, creativity and shared understanding.

You may access the full text (PDF) via Australasian Marketing Journal Elsevier website:

Dann, Stephen (2018) Facilitating co-creation experience in the classroom with Lego Serious Play. Australasian Marketing Journal. Volume 26, Issue 2, May 2018, Pages 121-131.

See the media from this article below

How LEGO® bricks build business innovation at Harvard Business School

May 22, 2018 in Serious Play Discussion

Creativity doesn’t always rule the corner office. In the territory of heavy desks and understated colors, executives can seem to favor decisions that match the décor. They might explain that they’re playing it safe or playing the long game. But perhaps they should be playing—period.

Some time ago we wrote in SeriousPlayPro how Harvard Business School introduced LEGO Serious Play to their curriculum. This post elaborates on the creativity and innovation

Think about it: If a company wants to grow, there are really only three ways. The first is to buy other companies. The second is to try to squeeze more out of your existing products. And the third is through new products, services, business models, and ways to reach customers,”

says Stefan Thomke, William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, making a case for the necessity of innovation.

When Thomke teaches innovation, he plays hard. One might expect raised eyebrows when the faculty chair of the HBS Executive Education Leading Product Innovation program breaks out LEGO® bricks during one of his signature programs. Yet students will soon discover a professor who brings toys into his classroom as a means of illuminating and restructuring business inventiveness brick by brick.

When I conducted research for a LEGO Case Study, I learned about a methodology called LEGO Serious Play (LSP). In LSP, specially designed LEGO kits are used to facilitate strategy building, vision setting, and problem-solving sessions for business executives,” Thomke says.

Mastering this kind of play took work. Thomke spent months earning two LSP certifications and adapting the knowledge to his curriculum, all after extended case study research that brought him all the way back to the remote Danish wood shop where LEGO began a century ago. Appropriately enough, the recent LEGO turnaround that Thomke studied only came about after a young CEO dismantled its sagging corporate structure and married the company’s imaginative roots with sustainable, user-centric product development processes.

LEGO bricks aren’t the only unexpected place from which Thomke draws innovation inspiration: “Several years ago, I came upon the realization that magicians can be some of the best innovators,” Thomke says. “Night after night, they have to come up with new tricks in order to entertain and wow their audience. I had the great fortune to run into Jason Randal… and over the course of many months, we developed a common set of principles that work well for innovation and are inspired by what magicians like Jason do.”

Some may still scoff at toys and tricks in the business classroom. Perhaps they forget that the best, most constructive learning is inherently fun. The lucky among us can remember youthful joys of solving the world’s mysteries. Even luckier are those who still play this pioneering game. The truly fortunate are playing at work.

This article was produced on behalf of Harvard Business School by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff. LEGO is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies, which do not endorse Harvard Business School Executive Education.

This blog post was written by Harvard Business School for Quartz

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