Students’ Union of the University of the Arts London published a short case on Managing Stuckness with Lego Serious Play

So, apparently Lego Serious Play (LSP) is an actual thing. I signed up to this workshop mainly because it had lego in the title, and then I was quite surprised with my experience.

LSP was developed by the Lego company as a way to create a new market for lego. It is a process that was designed for the corporate and business environment to “enhance innovation and business performance.” But the principles can be applied to wide range of situations. This workshop being an example. Usually when you play with lego, its very literal, you build a house, a car etc. So the first step was to change the way we play, moving from literal construction to metaphorical construction. So we started out with a few warm-up exercises to get us used to playing with our pile of lego in a more abstract, less literal way.

The point of this workshop was to understand ‘stuckness’. Being stuck is something that designers, creatives, and pretty much all people experience at some point, and there are a whole range of reasons people can get stuck: stress, fear, lack of knowledge, and each person has their own personal reasons, to do with how we each work and learn.

The next exercise was to build a model which describes us as creatives, our process, our positives and our negatives: the reasons we get stuck. After a short while we went round the room and each person described their model. It was incredible, when building these models, you invest meaning into each block, and in putting them together, you construct a complete image of yourself, out of lego.. (I know, sounds crazy right).

Managing_stuckness_with_LSP_2This is my model. It’s a sort of spiral staircase made of two colours, because I see myself as a pretty organised person. It is slowly climbing, because thats how I see my progress through my course, slowly climbing up, gaining knowledge and skills. Along the way there are a few place I can get stuck. Firstly the black and yellow poles, they are two small blips of procrastination that I usually have to get through because I can move on. Then theres a little side platform with a spinning thing on it, that’s all my other interests, which are constantly spinning in the background. And finally, underneath is a little skull, that represents a small amount of self doubt that sometimes creeps in. At the top of the staircase are a pair of legs, thats me, walking up the stairs, but I don’t have a body of head, as I am not sure exactly where I am going. The staircase ends in two flags, pointing in different directions, representing expectations vs reality for the end of uni.

We then went on to do a number of different exercises, working in groups and alone to build solutions for our stuckness, and that of others.

I was really surprised by the workshop, I came in thinking I was going to play with lego for two hours, which I did, but not in the way I was expecting. It turned out to be a really powerful experience, looking at my own models, and those of others, and listening to how each person described them, you can see that it really does work. In building a model, you distil your problems and issues into concrete forms, isolating them from everything else that clouds your decisions. The solutions can then seem really obvious. It’s a great way of working, that I’ll do again, and I recommend anyone to try it if they get a chance. And anyway, its lego, who needs an excuse.

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