Building a Global Manifesto Through LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® – A Case Study

February 19, 2015 in Serious Play Case Studies


Group Build DW S2S Manifesto

I had the honour of working with Deutsche Welle Akademie at the end of last year on what for me was an interesting and important challenge:

How do you create a global manifesto on information sharing and freedom of expression with participants from 14 different countries, when each has with their own culturally valid and particular way of doing things and seeing things?

There were many challenges when deciding to do this work. There was a postal strike in South Africa and all my LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® starter kits I had ordered went missing. I had ten kits I had been working with but certainly not the beautiful, pristine white boxes which included a manual and some comfortable and easy building starts.

A challenge in itself coupled with the fact that only 4 hours had been set aside to do this. When I started working in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® I was an absolute purist. I would only do work which lasted a day at the very least. I was turning away a lot of business… so I decided I would eat my own cooking and try and be agile. I agreed to the assignment not knowing whether four hours could ever be enough to achieve what they needed.

It was not only possible, it was a huge success. Here is the feedback:

“Elaine designed and executed a very clever and creative program using LEGO Serious Play that helped us to achieve our goal – crafting a set of principles to foster freedom of expression. Moreover, with colleagues from 14 different countries, LEGO became a common language and generated ideas that may have remained unearthed in a more traditional workshop methodology. Our delegates were hugely impressed!”

                           Steffen Leidel – Editor onMedia, Deutsche Welle Akademie

I wanted to share with you how and why it worked and give you some insights into how you, too can do this kind of process in a very short period of time.

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Insights from a Lego Practitioner on the Power of Play

October 8, 2013 in About Lego Serious Play

Strategy for Enterprise

Strategy for Enterprise

One of the more significant challenges facing organisations is the question of how to develop effective organisational learning in volatile trading markets. In a world where questions can potentially be more powerful than answers, what does learning look like? If an agile workforce understands the importance of questions over answers, prototyping and iterating potential solutions and developing a healthy appreciation for problem finding when it comes to working on the right problem, what if anything needs to change in the way we do organisational design?

What I have observed from running strategy sessions using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® as a methodology is that building requires a different starting point. Much of my work in Leadership Development has focused on reflection as the critical stance. With LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® I have noticed something different happening. What I have found is that when one builds, one moves into a space of Play and that ego seems to fall away. What I mean by this is that due to the nature of the Lego blocks holding no inherent meaning, because one can eliminate things, break things down and rebuild, it seems to eradicate the place of judgement around oneself and ones ability to think through challenges.

It is my belief that the constructionist nature of Lego helps to develop a capacity for leaders to work in a state of emergence and harness Play as a powerful driver for organisational learning.

The answer always lies in the system you are building. Thus it creates a place for multiple perspectives to emerge and to be assessed without judgement. Doing these sessions has profoundly changed the way I view learning – I understand now from the impact I have seen in the thinking of the people I have worked with that it is not only in reflection that we learn but in Play, that we create and grow.

I will be talking about the Power of Play at the Knowledge Resources Chief Learning Officers conference in Johannesburg and giving a free talk on 25th October at Creative Mornings in Cape Town.

Originally from: Elaine Rumboll blog

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