User Requirements with LEGO

June 26, 2019 in Serious Play Discussion

This very useful material was prepared by Lorenzo Cantoni, Marco Faré and Elisabetta Frick of Università della Svizzera italiana (University of Lugano, Switzerland) in May 2011 and it was uploaded to the website, which sadly no longer functions. Since the document was originally published as Open Source, I have made it freely available here.

URL – User Requirements with LEGO from Marko Rillo

Dan Lyons Critical Speech on LSP at RSA

May 15, 2019 in Serious Play Discussion

Dan Lyons has held a critical speech on LEGO Serious Play methodology at RSA event: “Why Modern Work Makes Us Miserable | Dan Lyons | RSA Replay”. The talk starts at 12:55

LEGO Serious Play workshop

Finding Work as a LEGO Serious Play Facilitator

April 12, 2019 in Serious Play Discussion

How to increase your success in finding new LEGO Serious Play clients? How to improve your chance in winning proposals?

In this blog post you will learn how to spell out your unique sales proposition in just three steps. It is a 10-minute exercise that can help you to get your focus sharper and increase your likelihood of finding work assignments that you love. I will write about the magic 3-letter marketing word “USP” – your Unique Selling Proposition.

One of the most frequent question that people have asked the SeriousPlayPro community members is about finding new sales leads. But how to be successful? Yesterday I got this question:

I’m still a beginner in LSP, and so far I have used LSP mainly in short workshops for problem solving at the place where I work. I love the LSP method and would like to start building this as a business. I find it difficult to start marketing my services. How should I start?


Starting with sales and marketing just requires a new set of simple skills and tools. To address those questions I have decided to start with a new series of articles that will focus on:

Lego Serious Play Sales and Marketing Tips

In the first post of the series I suggest a simple first step in increasing your success rate in attracting new clients and nailing winning proposals by formulating your unique sales proposition.

Your Unique Sales Proposition

Most LSP facilitators market themselves as a “Certified facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method and materials” with proper capitalization and (R)-symbols in correct places. This is just like LEGO Serious Play Trademark Guidelines has asked you to do. Well done – you are following the rules of the LEGO Group.

However, for marketing this is not enough. For any business to catch attention of your client you need to identify two things:

  1. What the client is looking for and
  2. What sets you apart among other facilitators.

The best strategy is the one that combines the two. You need to find the match between the opportunities on the market (what jobs the clients hire) and your own strengths (where you can offer the most value).

Finding your Unique Sales Proposition - Infographic © CreaWity Marko Rillo

Step 1 – Jobs that Clients Need

Your client is looking for “jobs to be done”. Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen suggested in his book Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice: “Customers don’t simply buy products or services; they “hire” them to do a particular job.”

If you want to hang a painting to a wall you might first think that you need a hammer and a nail. But this is tool-based thinking. Maybe you can skip nailing altogether. Perhaps a strong double-sided tape will do. Or a set of special hooks and wires. Or you can delegate this entire task to a maintenance person and not to worry about the tools and technique at all. Any of these options would do the job of hanging the painting for you.

Likewise, your client will not need a LSP facilitator. You as a facilitator are just one potential tools to solve their problem. Therefore – you need to ask the client – what is the problem that client actually has. And this will help you understand – what job does this client would hire you for?

Perhaps it is entertainment – if their employees have had a rough year and would like to use LEGO bricks to have fun together? Maybe they have a tough problem to solve and they have heard that LSP is great for tackling complex issues?

There are many possibilities. Ideally you can ask your clients. If there is nobody to ask then go ahead and check the SeriousPlayPro facilitator marketplace for recent job posts. Some of them might be relevant to you. What would be the jobs for what your customers would engage you? Do they need a new set of goals and values? New strategy? New knowledge? Achieve greater alignment? Resolve conflicts? Choose 1-3 of the jobs that have been the most frequent and write them down.

This short list of customer jobs will serve as your list of main market opportunities.

Step 2 – Your Strongest Capability

How are you different from other facilitators? There are thousands of people who have trained as LSP facilitators. Some of them are really good in solutions focused coaching, others have 10 years of experience as scrum masters. Some have particular industry background – retail, banking, telco. Some have worked in a particular cultural or geographic context.

Write down another short list of qualities that you think make you stand out in the crowd of all LEGO Serious Play facilitators. Try to include in your list some keywords about your 1) knowledge, 2) skills, 3) experiences, and 4) qualities. You may use my list as a source of inspiration.

Capability list example © CreaWity - Marko Rillo

Be honest. Once you have compiled your list then feel free to cross out some items that you think are not so useful for your clients and which do not show your best side. Also – highlight those what seem the most important for the client.

Those final 3-5 items will serve as something that will make you stand out. These are your strengths.

Step 3 – Your Sales Proposition

Put your two lists: market opportunities and your strengths side by side. Draw linkages between the two lists and try to identify what is it that you can promise to your customers.

Ideally the sales proposition is a single sentence and help your client to understand: “When I buy the service from … (your name) – this is the benefit that I will receive to get my job done.” For example, the client might say using my example:

“Marko will help us identify new business models in telco using his ability to look at big picture and engage people.”

My example of Unique Sales Proposition

Now – once you have identified your first rough unique sales proposition idea then feel free to post your draft below this post. It is likely that you need to refine it several times. I would be happy to comment it and help to improve it. If you prefer a private answer then just send me an e-mail to the contacts you can find on my profile page.

Getting your unique sales proposition sentence right is just a first step in your facilitator sales and marketing journey. Stay tuned for the next post.

Using LEGO Serious Play for Software Engineering

March 1, 2019 in Serious Play Discussion

Stan Kurkovski has created a set of different instructions, tools and videos to apply LEGO Serious Play methodology to software engineering. Check out his website here.

The videos of LEGO Serious Play methodology with Software Engineering Students

The first video introduces the students to LEGO Serious Play methodology using the basic LEGO Serious Play skills building tools: technical skills, story telling skills and metaphor skills.

Thereafter the next video explains the students on how to use LEGO Serious Play methodology for requirements engineering for the actors:

The third video focuses on eliciting and analysis of user requirements:

The fourth video explains on creating software architecture using LEGO Serious Play methodology:

The fifth and final video explains the use of LEGO Serious Play for software processes:

LEGO Serious Play Application Techniques for Software Engineering

The website that Stan Kurkovsky has created also features a number of LEGO Serious Play application techniques with detailed roadmaps that include material requirements, process suggestions regarding timing:

Underlying to this approach is Stan’s interesting White Paper on “Teaching Software Engineering with LEGO Serious Play” If you are interested in learning more about his approach then go to the site on LEGO Serious Play for Software Engineering

The Power of Play in Higher Education: Creativity in Tertiary Learning

February 28, 2019 in Serious Play Library

Alison James and Chrissi Nerantzi have combined their efforts to release an interesting new research book which tells the story of using playful tools in higher education.

Their book is a serious endeavour on 359 pages. It has 39 different articles ranging from using tabletop games, playful writing and poetry, theatrical games. There are 3 articles that also focus on the use of LEGO and LEGO Serious Play methodology.

  • Our Learning Journey with LEGO® by James, Alison (et al.) – Pages 239-242
  • Using LEGO® to Explore ‘Professional Love’ as an Element of Youth Work Practice—Opportunities and Obstacles by Purcell, Martin E. – Pages 243-245
  • Creating LEGO® Representations of Theory by Simmons, Nicola – Pages 247-249

Get your copy via Amazon: The Power of Play in Higher Education: Creativity in Tertiary Learning

Dan Lyons Looking at Lab Rats Experiments with LSP

December 18, 2018 in Serious Play Library

LEGO Serious Play methodology has received a critical look by New York Times bestselling author Dan Lyons. He has titled his new book “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us“. The opening sequence of this book provides a story of his encounter with one of LEGO Serious Play facilitators and his puzzle with the “duck” exercise. 

Dan Lyons argues that “pseudo happiness” generated by LEGO Serious Play practitioners alongside with Agile practitioners has been one of the main reasons why startup community and industry at large is actually ending up more miserable. 

In his opening chapter he describes how he met a LEGO Serious Play facilitator who goes by a pseudonym “Julia” who was combining the methodology with agile, NLP, New Age psychotherapy and hypnosis. 

As a result of the encounter and the duck exercise, Dan Lyons is left puzzled and bewildered. He suggests that LEGO workshops are just one example of “nonsense that is creeping into the workplace” whereby the offices look more and more like “Montessori preschools” rather than serious places for business. He concludes that in a chaotic age many managers are simply scared and therefore looking for unconventional ways for moving ahead.

In his analysis he assumes that LEGO Serious Play is just a fad that generates profits both for LEGO, for LEGO Serious Play trainers and facilitators, but for real business the workshops are largely pointless.

However, he also suggests that those types of Lego exercises might be silly and stressful to some. When some people feel that they are unable to contribute in a playful way, the playfulness might become counter-productive. Some participants of LEGO Serious Play workshops might just feel that structured play resembles them a “cult of happiness” rather than something that would provide real and tangible value to be better at work.

Find this book via Amazon: “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us“.

In the following brief video Dan Lyons provides a brief take on LEGO Serious Play. Comment what do you think of his book and his analysis? 

LEGO Shop Expands to New Countries

October 26, 2018 in Lego Serious Play Bricks

LEGO Shop has recently started expanding to new markets. Newly supported markets are Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

For years LEGO has been conservative in expanding its international online presence, being only available to a limited list of markets: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom and USA.

Those 5 new countries that it has expanded to are just tiny European markets with the total overall population of 18 million inhabitants. However, at least this looks like a first step in becoming more accessible to new markets that has been long overdue. Hopefully the next markets will follow shortly.

To make purchases of LEGO Serious Play bricks in your country, just use one of the links below to enter the LEGO Online Shop and choose the name of your country.

LSP starter kit

Starter Kit

LSP window bag pile

Lego Window Exploration Bag

LSP connections kit

Connection Kit

LSP identity and landscape kit

Identity and Landscape Kit

Serious Work Book Now also in German Language

October 25, 2018 in Serious Play Library

Serious Work book is now published also in German language via German bookshop as: Meetings und Workshops mit der LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Methode Moderieren

Many thanks to Jens Droge for his enthusiasm to popularise LEGO Serious Play in German-speaking countries. It is possible to obtain the electronic version of this book via the website here:

Yellow LEGO Ducks available via Amazon

October 23, 2018 in Lego Serious Play Bricks

Yellow LEGO ducks that have been used frequently during LEGO Serious Play workshops as warmup skills building exercises are often difficult to find. Therefore it was a nice surprise when one of our community members (thanks, Karen) sent us a note that it is possible to purchase them directly via Amazon.

It appears that there are only limited number of sets on sale. Likewise, there is a new seasonal set, which looks like this.

Once you have one of those duck kits it might be also a good idea to look into some know how on how to use the bricks in your workshop. This is where Jacqueline Lloyd Smith’s, Denise Meyerson’s and Stephen Walling’s lovely book might come handy. They have written about how to use the Duck kit in various creative ways. Check it here: “Strategic Play: The Creative Facilitator’s Guide #2: What the Duck!

Flow Experience in Design Thinking and Practical Synergies with Lego Serious Play

September 22, 2018 in Serious Play Library

Creative Research Journal published this article by Dirk J. Primus and Stephan Sonnenburg on Flow experience relations with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology.

The flow experience can be an important precursor to high levels of creativity and innovation. Prior work has identified and conceptualized the key elements of the flow experience in cocreative activities as individual flow corridor, individual flow feeling, and group flow. Surprisingly, the flow experience is underrepresented in theory and practice of design thinking. In this empirical study, the flow experience at the individual and group level was investigated in a 1-day design thinking exercise. The findings from partial least squares (PLS) modeling of 230 observations confirm previously untested conjectures that (a) the elements of individual and group flow experience were prevalent and highly correlated in the design thinking activities and (b) the nature of the design thinking task had an impact on the flow experience. Finally, results confirm that Lego Serious Play skills-building as a creative warm-up had a positive effect on 2 of the 3 flow experience elements: individual flow feeling and individual flow corridor.

You may read the full article here.

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