Tag Archives: Lego

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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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?

The Perfect LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Demo

Some time ago Carlos Hernandez of Dos Abrazos – dosabrazos.com and I did a Demo with a client here in Madrid, Spain and the flow of the whole meeting illustrates perfectly the power of the Lego Serious Play Methodology.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY at Madrid, Spain by Alan McShane of Considiom
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY at Madrid, Spain by Alan McShane of Considiom
  • We met the HR contact and he brought us straight to a small meeting room
  • While we were still doing the niceties and the small talk, I took out the small exploration bags of Lego, opened them and put them on the table
  • Without having previously talked about the the methodology and while still doing the small talk, our contact started playing with the bricks and launched straight into the building of a model so we stopped talking and watched
  • When finished building he intuitively started to explain what he had built. It was a specific metaphor for a work situation
  • We instinctively asked questions about the model, he provided feedback and along the way he made some changes to the model.

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LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Helps Build a Shared Understanding between the Scrum Team and the Product Owner

by Stan Kurkovsky, kurkovsky@ccsu.edu, @SKurkovsky

Scrum is an agile iterative software development methodology in which a team of software developers works in well defined increments (sprints). Each sprint typically results in adding new features to the software product. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY has been successfully adapted both for team building and as a tool for conducting sprint retrospectives in Scrum software development projects. A retrospective is a meeting of the entire development team facilitated by the Scrum Master and conducted at the end of each sprint, during which the team reflects on the past sprint and answers two key questions: what went well and what can be improved during the next sprint? If applied properly, LEGO SERIOUS PLAY can make sprint retrospectives more productive by getting people to discuss their experiences in the last sprint more openly and communicate their ideas in a more constructive way.

Individual Strength: Flexibility When Working with Constraints - by Stan Kurkovsky
Individual Strength: Flexibility When Working with Constraints – by Stan Kurkovsky

It is relatively easy to make the development team members to communicate with each other since they all work on the same project on the daily basis, and they most likely share a similar background and experience in various aspects of software development. However, ensuring clear communication between the Scrum team and the product owner is not always an easy goal to achieve. A product owner is typically a lead user of the software being developed. The main responsibility of the product owner is to establish a clear vision for the product being built, which is accomplished by writing project specification in the form of prioritized user stories. In practice, a product owner does not always understand the problems the developers may be facing in order to build what the product owner wants. And vice versa, the developers may not always have a clear idea of what the product owner really needs. This situation is perfectly illustrated in this infamous comic.

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Building LEGO Collage for Anti-Bullying – Upcoming Event

Upcoming event with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY by I am Anti Bully #iamantibully – Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (PST) Vancouver, BC. Register here.

I am anti bully LEGO Poster
I am anti bully LEGO Poster

Looking to embrace your creative genius?

Here’s a challenge for you – show your commitment as an anti-bully through building with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®! Form a team of 4 with your family and friends, or sign up as an individual to join a team, and enjoy an afternoon of fun playing with LEGO® bricks. Ticket price includes light refreshments, LEGO® materials to build with at the event and your very own LEGO® hero keychain to keep and take home!

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