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Lego Serious Play – Hands On

In Serious Play Discussion by Marko RilloLeave a Comment

wrote the following post for LinkedIn pulse.

I was very curious about Lego Serious Play methodology when I first heard of it, so I eagerly subscribed to a presentation event in Ticino, organised by Fondazione Agire.I am not going to talk about what Lego Serious Play is or is not, as everyone could probably know more than I do with 15 minutes of googling. But I would like to share my experience.

I volunteered to play with Lego… (no…. wait, that was last night at home when I had to choose between entertain the kids or do the clean up). I volunteered to be part of a communication experiment. Other two attendees and me were taken in a room with a Lego platform for each one of us, plenty of bricks around and a task: build your own idea of “innovation“.

Now… where do I start? For sure I am able to build a star ship, or a police car, or a castle… but where do you start from, when you need to build a concept? I was totally stuck! Then one of the guy organising the event said the “unlocking” phrase: “if you don’t know where to start from, take bricks in your hands and start building… the idea will follow”. That was it!

I don’t know what kind of magic happens when you hold Lego bricks… I immediately started to think: “what is innovation for me?”. I thought: “innovation is not just something new…. it is a path, an experience…”. (Of course my whole concept can be argued and could sound like total garbage, but is not the point. And in fact I found interesting that “innovation” was something different for each of us). Then I thought: “You start to innovate when you want to change something in better. Doing that you face an experience that start to elevate yourself from something maybe comfortable, solid, but so traditional that could be even boring. Than you take risks, you go towards instability and maybe to a dangerous path. But your attempt of innovation builds in you an experience that somehow elevates yourself from where you were standing before. Now you have a much wider view of everything around, regardless of the success of your innovative achievement”. (As I said before: don’t focus on the thoughts, but on the process :-).

So I built a traditional little bridge, solid and safe, monochromic and boring. On top of it, a little mini figure was sitting comfortably. Then I built another bridge, much higher that was seating on top of two tall pillars. Unstable, but with style somehow. Bigger and connected with arcs. To achieve the top of it the little mini figure had to climb a ladder.And he was standing on that (not sitting) with pride. I thought to have expressed everything I have written above, with a language more efficient than words that perhaps I was not able to tell.

A curious fact. I originally plugged in the two little men as one looking at one direction and one in another one. Then I thought: “this is not right: they have to look at the same direction”. Why? I wasn’t sure… but it was definitely wrong as it was and right to let them face the same direction. I presented my model to the audience and they had to “read it” without hints. Impressively enough, several people found meanings to the fact that the two little man were looking at the same direction: “because they are targeting the same goal”, “because the focus doesn’t change regardless or where they are”, “because in a company we may have people with different views of the picture (the one at the top as broader sight), but it is important that we all look at the same goal”, etc.

So they were able to read something that I was not able to express with words, but I did express with Lego.

This for me was a crucial point: developers – as I am – sometime are not really able to communicate some idea using a language that is totally understandable by non technical people. In this case, Lego helped a transversal communication.

Another aspect: one premise was that typically in a meeting 20% of the people talk 80% of the time. I can confirm this figure, although I am not able to say if it is because of some form of fear/respect towards more senior people, or because real luck of talking skills or something else. Whatever: with Lego people felt very compelled to share their own opinion and the organisers claim that that 20/80 disappear. Based on the little I saw, I am keen to believe this…. as we are talking about a Lego model after all!

In conclusion: would I like to use this methodology? Definitely yes.

Where would I apply it? Personally for a brain storming activity or kick off of a project for example.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, both: the process and the outcome.

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Kindle Version of Strategic Play Book Now Available

In Serious Play Library by Marko RilloLeave a Comment

StrategicPlayBookAmazon released now also Kindle version of the Strategic Play book. So those of you who prefer reading eBooks can now download it using by clicking the photo of the book. As a kind reminder about the contents: Jacqueline Lloyd Smith & Denise Meyerson (2015) Strategic Play The Creative Facilitator’s Guide Our community members Jacquie and Denise allow you to benefit from their years of experience in training, facilitation, and design space to prepare memorable LEGO SERIOUS PLAY experiences.

Some time ago I also wrote a brief description of the book here.

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Meetup in Sao Paulo

In Pro Community by Camila BorjaLeave a Comment

Meetup for certified facilitators only!

The objective of this event is to exchange experiences and grow as a collective community. We are also going to discuss opportunities for using LSP especially in light of our current economical recession.

The first meetup is going to take place on Saturday, 26. September at 9:30. Please RSVP on

Hope to see you there!


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What is NOT Lego Serious Play

In About Lego Serious Play by Jeff TagleLeave a Comment

Whenever I mention that I use Lego bricks for my group facilitation and team building programs, most of the time it’s assumed that I use it as an icebreaker or energizer. Only when I do a demonstration of the method is the power of the brick realized. Lego Serious Play doesn’t need to be the whole program or whole meeting itself, but it does take a significant portion of the day. Here are other clarifications about Lego Serious Play, as cited in the Lego Serious Play Open Source Brochure:

1) It is not a tool for building organizational diagrams

Lego bricks can be used for visualizing organizational diagrams, but it is not Lego Serious Play

2) It is not used for planning physical environments

Of course architects and interior designers can use Lego bricks for prototyping designs, but it is not technically Lego Serious Play.

3) It cannot be done in an hour

Most of my demonstrations take an hour, but it only touches the surface of the method’s potential in group facilitation.

4) It is not a tool to be used for “persuasion”

One strength of Lego Serious Play is its ability to let everyone speak up and convey their thoughts and ideas. Hence, if only one idea is “relevant” and it is being pushed to the other members of the group, then it is not Lego Serious Play.

Lego Serious Play is more than just the bricks. It is focused more on the metaphors that the bricks help convey. The bricks are a tool to unlock deeper thinking in order to gain new insight.

For better appreciation of the method, contact a certified facilitator near you for a short demonstration. Unleash your mind through the power of the brick!


Originally posted in LinkedIn Pulse


In Serious Play Training by Martin KlentzLeave a Comment

Enhance your skills as a Certified Trained Facilitator in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and identify the beasts in your organization. 


IntHRface offers a one-day special course in Real time strategy for the beast for Certified Trained Facilitators at Hotel LEGOLAND®.

LEGO-DINOReal Time Strategy for the Beast is a fast and effective process to
confront a complex Issue (or Beast) at any time, in any space.

DATE: 9th October 2015

Martin Klentz

Mads Keblovszk


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LEGO® Case Study: User Experience Design

In Serious Play Case Studies by Michael FearneLeave a Comment

The following was posted by Michael Fearne on LinkedIn Pulse

Using LEGO to solve real business problems? Surely not! This is another case study in a series focusing on companies that have used LEGO Serious Play to help solve real business challenges they were facing.

The Brief

I’ve been a big fan of General Assembly ( and their innovative approach to learning. I recently had the opportunity to work with their Melbourne office to combine my love of LEGO Serious Play and their User Experience (UX) Design Course.

The brief was to take the 18 students from the course through a short session to show them the LEGO Serious Play technique, how it could help the current project they were working on and how it could be used more broadly in their field.

What We Did

The students were working in groups of three on real world design projects from clients connected with General Assembly. As LEGO Serious Play works best with smaller groups we decided run three separate sessions. Each session had six people in it (3 from one project, 3 from another project) and went for two hours.

We started each session with an introduction to the LEGO Serious Play technique (it’s history, who uses it and for what). We introduced the basic steps and the guidelines we use to maximise the technique.

We then launched into the standard warm up activities (called “skills building” in LEGO Serious Play language). This always takes around 40 minutes with a new group and is vital to the success of the workshop.

Michael Fearne LEGO SERIOUS PLAY 1

If you’ll indulge me a slight detour from this case study… This warm up does a couple of things. At a basic level it gets people comfortable with touching and playing with the bricks. Reconnecting with that element of play that is in all of us. Showing that it’s ok to be playing with LEGO at work.

But on a more sophisticated level the warm up is introducing people to a new language. A more visual language, a metaphorical language, an object-mediated language, a story telling based language.

At the start people’s vocabulary with this new language is limited. In the warm up activities we often get very superficial and surface level conversations happening. But as we progress through the warm up and the main activities, this vocabulary grows. Resulting in some remarkably in-depth and powerful conversations.

But only if you take the time to build up that vocabulary with the proper warm up activities. Detour over, back to the case study.

The first question we delved into was around understanding their clients. The students had just met their clients earlier in the week and received the brief for the project. We got the students to individually build how they saw the client.  What they thought were the client’s key characteristics, their stressors, the vision for their company, etc.

After they shared the story of their model, we got the three people working on the same project to combine their models into one shared model of their client.

Michael Fearne LEGO SERIOUS PLAY 2

The aim of this activity was to get everyone in the same project with a shared understanding of the client and it’s needs. Some groups were already in close alignment, but other groups had quite different views.  This activity gave the groups a solid, consistent base to work from for the remainder of the project.

The last question we asked of the groups was a little more free form. We asked them to apply this LEGO technique to a part of their project. Here is what they came up with:

  • Current State: One group chose to use the LEGO to explore the current state of the problem.
  • Customer Journey: Another group looked to use it to understand the customer journey in a more visual way.
  • Personas: We had one group build different customer / user personas. Helping them to better understand who they were building this solution for.
  • Think.Feel.Do: A different group combined LEGO with the Think.Feel.Do approach. Building out what they wanted their customer to think, to feel and to do.

We finished off the session with a discussion of other ways to use this technique in the field of UX. Some ideas were: Envisaging solutions / future states; Story boarding; Prototyping; User Research (using the LEGO Serious Play technique on end users to gather more emotional / in depth information).

Michael Fearne LEGO SERIOUS PLAY 3

The Result

It was a very short two hour session, but the students moved quickly through understanding the basics of the technique to how they might apply it to their projects and more broadly in the field of UX.

Of immediate benefit was the increased understanding of their current project. For some of the more high performing teams it confirmed they were on the right track and allowed them to share more nuanced ideas and stories to take the project to a new level.

For other teams who were originally struggling with their project (due to difficult clients or difficult team dynamics) it allowed them to reset and build from a shared base of understanding.

And that’s what I love about this technique. Because it is based around having a better conversation it doesn’t matter where you start.

You could start with a dysfunctional team or a team that has issues and LEGO Serious Play can help bring them together and refocus their work.

Or it could be a high performing team and LEGO Serious Play just takes the conversation and group dynamics to amazing new levels.

LEGO Serious Play is an exciting, versatile new language for business. I’m really keen to explore it further and see where it can take us…

About the Author

Michael Fearne is the founder of Pivotal Play. An unconventional consultancy helping companies to solve problems and create more meaningful conversations through the power of LEGO Serious Play. To find out more about Michael and Pivotal Play go to