Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LEGO Serious Play

In addition to attending the IDEA conference, I also took part in a 2 day partner meeting with LEGO Serious Play partners from all over the world - every continent was represented with incredible stories being told and ideas being shared.
So, what are LEGO Serious Play partners doing that is innovative?
David Gauntlett, Professor of Media and Communications at the Univeristy of Westminster, London spoke on 'Making Things, Making Knowledge'.
He said that LEGO Serious Play is a way of giving the randon mish-mash in our brains some form. We often make things in different ways - we design collages and draw things. Through the methodology of LEGO Serious Play, we are able to construct identities that are rich in meaning and have meaning to the people in the room. LEGO Serious Play is a way of getting our stories out there and sharing them with others.
David has done substantial research into how LEGO Serious Play methodologies benefit teams and individuals.
LEGO Serious Play is a great tool he says for ensuring that through metaphors intangible concepts have meaning. It takes away usual constraints and allows people to present their ideas in one go.
We all like to present how we are in the world - like our magnet and photo collection on our fridge door. There are many identity theories of how we present what we want to of ourselves on the front stage and what we don't want known, we keep on the backstage.
What is so interesting with LEGO Serious Play is that the front and backstage become visible simultaneously through the models that are constructed and through the speaker giving meaning to the model.
There is also a tension that usually exists between the individual and society - individuals want to be distinct but at the same time want to feel part of the community.
LEGO Serious Play allows for this tension and incorporates it into the process of the day.
In addition to that, there is a revised interest at the moment in making things. This is exemplified in Web 2.0 where we create our wikis and blogs. LEGO Universe is under construction and will be a creatable world all in LEGO.
This emphasis on craftmanship creates a feeling of well-being and lifts self-esteem. We are no longer just a passive audience watching TV but are moving back to this culture of making things - this also allows us to problem solve and although what we make might not be perfect, this all leads to us investing time in things that we can change and where we can leave our mark in the world. We improve ourselves in the world through reflecting on our ordinary day and through making = the very principles of LEGO Serious Play.

Another speaker, Per Kristiansen, from a Danish consultancy firm, Trivium, spoke about how they are implementing new workshops in organisations based on the principles of unlocking potential by learning through play.
He has devised a series of workshops for an organisation that wants to ensure that all teams are on board in undestanding what the business's value proposition is.
The workshops that Trivium designed are based on Otto Scharmer's Theory U where we move from sensing to reflecting to acting. This takes into account that if we want to come up with new ideas, we need to learn both from the past and the present. If we don't think about the future, we won't have one.
LEGO Serious Play is one of the best ways of articulating Scahrmer's U curve and ensuring that there is genuine 'flow' where enactment and embodiment of new concepts is more likely.
In fact, wherever an organisation is confronting a challenge, LEGO Serious Play through its methodology enables change and the devising of a solution.

No comments: