How to use LSP to enable teams to collaborate effectively

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    Danny Williams

    Hi All,

    I have been asked to run a workshop with the goal of helping differing teams to collaborate so that they can work as a single cohesive unit? Is this possible within the bounds of Lego Serious Play? Also we are likely to have only a couple of hours for this workshop!

    The workshop I have been asked to run will be part of a longer 2-day event. On day one each team will present their view of a particular goal. So there should be some understanding of each team’s perspective by the time we get to day two, when I would run my workshop. The focus of my workshop would be on how the teams could work together to achieve this common goal.

    My initial reaction is that I think this is being a little too optimistic about what can be achieved in a short space of time using LSP. But then it does depend on the sponsors’ expectations for this workshop.

    When attempting to get two (or more) individuals or teams to collaborate, good practice is to look for common goals and agreement on what the overall objective is. Usually for a company this would be to deliver a certain product and or service to a client, that helps them achieve their overall goals, whilst delivering profitable revenue to the shareholders. The challenge is that each team has a different set of priorities. The businesses are measured in different ways and have metrics that don’t map well across the organisation. A good place to start is to build empathy – to get each person involved in a project to understand the other parties’ values and priorities.

    Can Lego Serious Play help here? Probably. However, from what I understand of the method this is something that would take a day or two, not a couple of hours. It takes an hour just to get people up to speed with the basics of the approach. We could do some exercises around empathy. For example getting the teams to build models that illustrate what each team thinks of the other teams. This sort of activity can help open peoples’ minds a little but it won’t solve the problem in such a short amount of time.

    So ideally it would be great to get the teams to build some models that illustrate how they think the collaboration challenge can be solved.

    What advice do you all have for me? Is this goal achievable? If so, what activities and techniques would you recommend?



    Francine Masson

    Hello Danny,
    I’m Francine from Montréal, Canada.
    The suggestions from some members of this forum helped me very much.

    I had success in a 45min demo workshop last May, where we found solutions for an SME presenting environmental challenges! Stressful but rewarding after all :)
    I have also experienced with LSP at team building workshop with people from all different department. My suggestion is to try to get minimum 2hours (if not 3),
    Exercises around empathy would be your best bet for fast results after your intro. First to warm up with few exercices, the duck of communication back to back exercice, per example, is a great eye opener.Your example getting the teams to build models that illustrate what each team thinks of the other teams is very good, also one that worked well for me, was drawing names of other team members and build the perception who the person is and what they do, without ever naming them.
    Then each try to find out which model represent them.
    I wish you luck !

    Andrew Batchelor

    I think that with only 2 hours, you can just scratch the surface of how the team might come together around a common goal. Exercises like the duck and tower or bridge can be used for skill building, as well as to illustrate the differences in approaches and styles. You could then have them build a model of the ideal workplace by first creating the characteristics of the workplace (individual), and then fitting them together (landscape).


    Hi Danny,

    I think Francine’s ideas are great.

    A few years ago I had to design and facilitate a worksop to help a tech startup better collaborate after being acquired by a tech giant. The CEO’s main concern at the time was seeing an increasing level of silo mentality. So the workshop focused on two main elements trust and collaboration in an agile environment. I had two hours and 51 participants. So I adopted a laser focused approach. What worked to my advantage was that the participants were all young developers, sharp and fast learners. This made it easy for me to do the skills building in 30 min. The last exercise in the skills building, the one about a nightmare boss was a great Segway into the topic of trust. Everyone built their model of what trust represented in their working environment, this opened up the possibilities of using trust a foundation to collaborate. So the exercises that followed were based on the Snowmobile or Go Cart examples. In the 60 min left, I had them go through individual and shared models in teams of 6-7. From cross-functional departments. To evaluate the impact of such an unusual workshop, I had everyone fill out a short survey before and after the workshop, and that’s when I realized a shift in mindset had happened.

    I hope my example helps somehow your process. Best of luck,


    Danny Williams

    Hi Francine, Gabriel and Andrew,

    Thanks for your advice.

    It turns out that the practical sessions in this event are only going to be 40 minutes long!
    The organising team have wisely decided not to go ahead with using LSP in this context.



    Do it right or don’t do it at all !


    Recently I’ve applied LSP for a group of 120 people – in order to show them the challenges of scaling organization / cross team coordinated effort. We use an Agile team model, with global synchronized sprints, and periodic shared vision-review and planning.

    In this 3-4 hours game, the group learned the challenges of integrated effort, cross-team communication and setting realistic, and adjustable goals…
    Hope you find it useful

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