Six Bricks for Countless Exercises

Do you know that when you take six eight-stud LEGO bricks (2×4) – how many ways can they be combined? The exact number of combinations has been calculated as 915,103,765!

Today’s post is not so much about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, but it could be interesting to our facilitator community because it can suggest new and creative means for coming up with group exercises during your LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitation events.

Six Bricks Square from LEGO Idea Conference - photo: Marko Rillo
My Six Bricks from LEGO Idea Conference – photo: Marko Rillo

A year ago LEGO came up with an interesting challenge for preschool education around the world. Namely – suggesting that teachers can just use six simple DUPLO bricks of different colors to introduce countless new exercises and challenges for kids. Hence – at the last LEGO Idea Conference the participants received their own six bricks to start experimenting. My package is shown above.

Where was this initiative born?

Apparently – Brent Hutcheson as one of the Ashoka Changemakers pitched the idea in 2013 suggesting: “What if 6 bricks was all we needed to ensure that perceptual skills were developed?” You can see the whole programme application on their preparatory work with LEGO and Ashoka here.

LEGO Foundation Six Bricks Booklet When I started researching the subject I found out that it has nicely developed. LEGO Foundation has released a free booklet with dozens of creativity, logic and fun exercises to try out. Download your copy by clicking on the image on the right.

What skills do children practice?

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LEGO SERIOUS PLAY - Models of Good Citizen

Lego® Serious Play® Workshop @ EPL

This post was originally published at Project Citizen blog

On April 16, 2015, 40 engaged citizens came together at the Stanley Milner Public Library for an afternoon of thought-provoking discussion and Lego® Serious Play® making of what inclusive citizenship can look like in action. The group consisted of citizens with disabilities, University of Alberta Community Service-Learning students and leaders, Skills Society community support workers, as well as community members and leaders from the Edmonton Public Library.

The afternoon was kicked off by Robin Mazumder, a passionate and down-to-earth community builder dedicated to helping make Edmonton a fun, vibrant, and socially inclusive city. Robin currently serves as New Venture Support Specialist at NAIT, Instructor at MacEwan University’s Faculty of Health and Community Studies (Therapist Assistant Program), and board member with Make Something Edmonton. It is no surprise that Robin was one of Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40 in 2014, and we were thrilled to have him join us for this workshop and share his experiences and insights about how to strengthen local communities. Robin shared that, now more than ever, anyone who has a good idea to make Edmonton better can make it happen… and there is a lot of help available from the community and organizations like Make Something Edmonton and CityLab.

Throughout the day, graphic illustrator Miriam Mahnic (Community Development Officer with Alberta Culture and Tourism) took everyone’s ideas and brought them to life in a series of realtime murals.

Good Citizen Workshop Graphic Print

Following Robin Mazumder’s presentation, Skills Society’s Senior Leader of Research and Social Innovation Ben Weinlick (twitter:@weinbenlick) from Think Jar Collective led our collective through a series of Lego® Serious Play®  story-making activities. 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® methodology deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue.

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Retrospective and Creativity with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

Hello everyone, here is what I was waiting for some time, one retro with LEGO® in first hand. If you want my resume in one phrase, here is: “It was a FANTASTIC retrospective”.

First of all I was looking something funny to do with the team. Something where we could learn the great work we are able to do if we work together. Something where, as scrum master, allow me to show the team the importance of be creative, spontaneous, and simple. After some reading, I started to think that LEGO® games could help with that. I started to search for games and I realized that there is not a lot of documented LEGO® games.

At the end, I really like one of the games from tastycupcakes with a very small adaptation, and the result was more of what I was expected. This post is to share my retrospective experience with you.

The rules of the game:

  • Team needs to come up with one personage, it could be a very known personage, it could be a cartoon or a film personage.
  • Team needs to come up with an object and a color.
  • Team will run 3 sprints, 12 minutes each one (consisting of: 2 min plan + 7 min build + 3 min review)
  • For a team of 3 people, in this retrospective, I decided to ask for 4 scenes, they needed to be sure that the history had one start, one end, and the history needed to be based in the story goal

Retrospective ‘s  “Definition of Done” (DoD):

  • The team need to add one action at least in each scene
  • One picture per scene

The team’s personage was in this case “Homer Simpson”, the object was an “table”, and the color was “blue”. The first sprint run and people start to plan, create and present. After the pictures, the Product Owner – PO (I play that role) started to listen the history, very fun and creative.

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Go Ahead, Play with That LEGO Brick

DSC_6999 We all do it, admit it. During meetings you pull out your notepad and take notes. But as the speaker goes on you begin doodling. You might start out with simple flowers and progress to silly portraits of others in the room. Did you know this may actually help you to focus and retain information? People are finally starting to understand—when you have something to do with your hands you can improve your focus and learn faster.

As children, we learned to sit still in school and listen quietly. Teachers would sometimes go so far as to instruct especially fidgety students to sit on their hands. This was actually counterproductive. When children are allowed to feel and play with objects, that little bit of stimulation allows their brains to focus on the task at hand and pay better attention. The same is true for adults when they play with LEGO® bricks.

So think about it, fidgeting may actually help you come up with that next great innovation. If you run into a problem on a project,  absentmindedly grab some LEGO bricks. Start to play around with it as you ponder the issue.  At some point, you might have a breakthrough and a great idea. Who knew seemingly mindless play could be so powerful?

About Copyrights and the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Community Model

It is very encouraging to see the strong increase in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® experience exchange on this site. This increased awareness has also lead to an increased interest in offering facilitator training programs – and also some issues:

A: Many people interested in learning more about the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method have expressed confusion and frustration, when trying to figure out the difference between the different facilitator training options. Questions like: “Is there an official LEGO endorsed program? “What is the difference between program x and program y”? “Why are some programs longer/shorter than others?” etc.

B: Parallel with this confusion there is also a practice developing that appears to take for granted that everything that is public about the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology is also open and free for everyone to use as they want. This is not the case. As an example a significant part of the method described in our book “Building a Better Business Using the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Method” is copyrighted and cannot be used for commercial purposes without having accepted our Terms of Use Agreement as part of completing our facilitator training.

The purpose of this post is to explain the simple facts related to  issues A and B.

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Making LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Apostles – Case Study of Banking

Considiom LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Madrid
Considiom LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Madrid

“I  appreciate all the work and effort you put into today’s session with my team. It was without doubt original and innovative and above all, it fulfilled my objectives. You can consider me to be a Lego Serious Play apostle and I will do all I can to recommend your methodology to both teams in my company and indeed to other companies, should the opportunity arise.”

This is feedback from the manager of a team of 15 people following an 8 hour Lego Serious Play workshop we did recently.

Sector: Financial / Banking

Workshop Objectives:

  • Based on the overall company objectives, identify personal objectives for each team member
  • Align the individual objectives so that they become common team objectives for the next year
  • Identify all the obstacles to reaching the annual objectives
  • Find solutions to the main obstacles
  • Brainstorm how the team can improve its overall performance
  • Unite and strengthen the team and develop closer relationships and ties between its members

Methodology

  • We built a workshop exclusively around Lego Serious Play – working with both individual and group models
  • We also combined the model building with some more well known training concepts (SWOT analysis and Circles of Control and Influence) to map what they built

The Results

  • We met all the objectives set out by the client
  • We had full involvement from all participants throughout the whole day
  • Although there were some difficult “crucial conversations”, participants enjoyed the experience
  • By the end of the day, the team had a full understanding of how they performed and how they could improve
  • An improvement in the sense of “team spirit” was noticeable by the end of the workshop, and even more so two weeks later at a follow up meeting.

The following phrase came up during the workshop and captures very well the overall result: “we are much more a team than I thought we were”

Lego Serious Play works!

This was originally published by Alan McShane on the Considiom Blog

Lego Serious Play Facilitator Network