Monday, April 19, 2010

Explaining population growth using LEGO bricks

An interview with Hans Rosling for Ericsson’s “2020 Shaping Ideas” project. In the project, 20 global thinkers are asked to share their view of the drivers and trends for the future. These are Hans Rosling’s thoughts. Watch how he uses LEGO to assist his audience in understanding the key messages he is conveying.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Have a look at this great video on session using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. It is interesting just how many different ways there are of using this amazing process - all depending on the context where are working and the outcomes that you are looking to achieve.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The value of any publicity

Is there value in any publicity? Even if it is not great publicity? Is there a lesson in this for managers?
After our 'free' front page splash In the Australian this week, we certainly generated a lot of chatter. Far more than we received for the beautiful photo and article in the Deal magazine 2 weeks previously.
So did this help us in any way - I think it did. The write-up about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY and the use of LEGO bricks in the ABC broadcaster made it seem as though innovation and play at work are a total waste of time and money. In the comments to the editor, many readers made fun of the concept and concluded that innovation through LEGO bricks is "condescending" for adults.
This is obviously something that we totally disagree with and research shows that the exact opposite is indeed true. Adults thrive when the endorphins are pumping and when they can use their whole brains to understand and communicate intangible ideas and concepts.
So - on the face of it associating LEGO SERIOUS PLAY with something that does not work would not appear to be a good idea. Particularly on the front page of the major national newspaper...
And yet it worked in our favour.
The phone has been ringing and people are booking events based on the methodology. They are also asking to be trained as LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitators.
Reason - the controversy generated discussion and the buzz created more interest.
What is the lesson in this for managers?
It seems as though anything that is out of the norm and that gets people talking is going to bring new ideas to the surface and create an environment where all viewpoints can be expressed. If we want our own teams to think creatively, setting the proverbial bird amongst the pigeons creates the scene for discussion. It is different and provokes conversation.
Far better than pretty posters around the office reminding the team of some of the key messages you want to get out there.
Your views on this please!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I have just been interviewed on top Melbourne radio station 3AW Breakfast with Ross and John.
They called to ask for my views on the use of LEGO Serious Play in a corporate setting and I told them how effective it is in avoiding the 'lonely guy' syndrome.
They were interested in hearing from me, following this article on the front page of the Australian newspaper 05/04/10

Building a future national broadcaster with Lego as easy as A-B-C

THE ABC is encouraging staff in Sydney to exercise their creative talents by using Lego in the staff cafeteria in an initiative that is already facing plenty of internal derision.

The ABC's NSW director, Mike McClusky, has sent a memo to all staff, asking them to see the future of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the form of Lego's colourful plastic building blocks.

"The ABC in NSW is holding a competition to try and give exercise to our creative minds," Mr McClusky told staff on the eve of April Fool's Day last week.

Only it wasn't an April Fool's joke; it was a team-building exercise of the type modern organisations are so fond.

"We have set up a Lego building station in the level seven cafe area of ABC Ultimo as well as sending kits to all regional offices," Mr McClusky said.

"This is to offer each of us an opportunity to form big ideas from small building blocks.

"Also of course, the objective is to have a little fun on the way."

None of the staff The Australian spoke to was laughing.

"What's next? Finger-painting and plasticine?" asked one senior broadcaster.

Many in the corporation's news and current affairs departments thought it was absurd, and it became the joke of the week at the Ultimo headquarters in the run-up to Easter.

Mr McClusky's idea was inspired by the ABC's The Spark Awards.

Ian Carroll, the director of innovation, and Ursula Groves, the director of people and learning, are holding a separate but regular competition to "uncover good creative and innovative ideas".

"We know that it's sometimes hard to get your ideas listened to, especially if your ideas are not directly related to your day-to-day job," Mr Carroll told staff in an email last month.

"So this is just one way we hope that a few really good creative and innovative ideas can be recognised and given resources to develop."

The use of Lego as a corporate training tool has grown over the last 10 years with the introduction of the Lego Serious Play scheme, sponsored and developed by the parent company in Denmark. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toll Holdings and Coca-Cola have reportedly used Lego to encourage creative thinking and take participants outside their comfort zones.

In order to spark interest in The Spark Awards in his state, Mr McClusky came up with the Lego idea as a way of attracting interest in the competition for new ideas.

Mr McClusky is aiming high. "The aim is to build an object depicting the ABC of the future," he said.

For those ABC broadcasters, technicians or producers who are game to take the Lego challenge -- most of whom would not have played with Lego for at least 20 years -- there is a prize.

"Once your creation is finished all you have to do is take a picture of you holding it (or standing next to it) and send it through to . . . this office and you will be in the running for a $100 ABC Shop voucher (for the winner) and a $50 ABC Shop voucher (for the runner-up)," Mr McClusky invites.

Mr McClusky did not return calls yesterday.