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.

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