Tag Archives: Lego

Radio Interview with Jacquie Lloyd Smith on LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

Playing with Lego can help with professional development. Interview with Jacquie Lloyd Smith

CBC Radio StationA Lego Serious Play Master Trainer is in Sudbury to teach people how Lego can be used for professional development. Jacquie Lloyd Smith was interviewed for CBC Radio. Click for the link here to listen to the broadcast.

Broadcast details: Up North | Jun 9, 2015 | 8:18 minutes.



Fostering creative thinking and building shared identities: Basic techniques of Lego Serious Play at Mini Meetup

Appnova published a blog post about a recent LEGO SERIOUS PLAY London Mini-Meetup

Why Lego bricks in the first place?

When first I was given a bag of Lego bricks, I was excited and nervous at the same time. Partly because I somehow thought my artistic skills were going to be tested.

I was glad I was wrong in this (see more on our previous article on Scrum LEGO planning game). For those who are new to the concept or even skeptical about using Legos in a corporate environment, I’d like to share some of my experience learning the basic techniques at Lego® Serious Play® London mini MeetUp.

The philosophies and origins of Lego Serious Play

Today most of our meetings and discussions are dominated by verbal and numerical formats. You’re probably aware that they don’t always lead to insightful and productive communications. But what about other underexplored ways of conveying important information that help unlock new business opportunities and innovations?

‘LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® rejects the idea that external ‘experts’ must be brought in to identify problems, and to propose solutions; on the contrary, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® begins with the assumption that the answers are ‘already in the room’, and invites participants to ‘think with their hands’ to build their understandings.’

Warming up 1 – get to know Lego!

Firstly each of us was asked to build a tower using either orange and green lego bricks. Interestingly none of our Lego towers looked the same.

Warming up 2 – Assigning a symbolic meaning to objects.

We can give our bricks any metaphors and symbolic meaning. No matter how complex your idea may be, a Lego model, with your own twist, can represent an idea, meaning and even a metaphor. Basically anything you want to express.

For example, we were asked to construct anything we wanted using several bricks. Then each of us picked a card with random terms and names written on them. My card said ‘Explain this! – Your model was meant to represent ‘Marriage”.


Now this is getting interesting. I just built something that was meant to mean marriage. OK, let’s see. My model is colourful, weird-looking and unstable. Well, a marriage can be unstable right?

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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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