Toy manufacturer LEGO® created Serious Play® in the nineties in collaboration with the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) based in Lausanne in Switzerland. The methods used back then for strategy development were not yielding the expected results, so Lego’s then owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen was looking for new solutions.
Coincidentally, professors at IMD were also looking for new ways of strategy development at the time. It was a match made in heaven. Hence, LEGO® Serious Play® took its course and was introduced to the public in 2002. Since 2010, the method may be used under the Creative Commons Licence, however strictly within LEGO’s® brand guidelines and only by certified trainers, so-called “facilitators”.
Just by looking at the list of organisations that use the method, it becomes clear that the opportunities are almost endless. Whether it’s NASA, non-profits like Unicef, corporations or SMEs, all use the process for strategy development, finding business models, workshops (my personal favourite is learning agile work methods for people outside of IT), team building, prototyping...The opportunities are almost endless.
It’s an essential part of the process for participants to use the bricks to come up with metaphors and bring their models to life with their stories. People prefer stories over facts. Every brick in a model has a specific meaning for the builder. Nothing happens coincidentally. This way, this model becomes very personal to the builder, making it sometimes very difficult for others to interpret.
It’s not until the latter building stages—where the participants build models together or build system models with further dependencies—that the workshop participants combine their models into a shared one that answers all questions and is documented in a video.
The human hand has the most neural connections in the brain. When we “think” with our hands, we think differently and less analytically. The method’s inventor, Per Kristiansen, describes this as a quasi-3D printing method for one’s own thoughts that is superior to any flip chart or draft paper.
Bechtle offers workshops with trained and certified LEGO® Serious Play® facilitators and also uses this method internally for innovation processes. Interested? We would love to consult you on the different fields of use.