Unlocking Storytelling with - that’s right - LEGO!
Updated: Nov 7
I love trying new things, like new music, new places to hike, new places to eat, or new K-dramas to watch on Netflix. So when my good friend and coach Mitch Lippman suggested using LEGO® Serious Play® as a tool for reimagining our business and finding new ways to look for opportunities, I had to say yes. Besides, growing up with LEGO, I was curious to see how this would work. After decades of experiencing Fortune 100 innovation workshops in various guises, could LEGO really crack the code to generate ideas and the stickiness to make them happen?
What Is LEGO Serious Play?
LEGO Serious Play (LSP) is a facilitated program using LEGO bricks as a tool to unlock creative thinking, problem solving and decision making. It was developed by the LEGO group in collaboration with various subject matter experts to tap into the human ability to get creative and learn through play. This provides a unique perspective to problem solving and encouraging participation
I asked Mitch why he starting using LEP as a tool: “I’m always looking for professional development as a coach and facilitator, and when I heard about LEGO® Serious Play ®, I was truly curious. I wanted to see what else I could add to my toolbox for helping individuals, teams, and organizations achieve their goals. I immediately saw that LSP is a terrific modality for exploring the innate creativity in all of us. And it can be used to help discover solutions in all kinds of business challenges and opportunities, from growth and change management to strategic planning!”
Our full afternoon session proved to be both insightful and entertaining. Following some fun warm-up activities that helped us understand the approach, we were given specific questions related to our business and what we wanted to achieve. We were to use our hands and the bricks to answer those questions. We built small models to answer the questions, and then – working collaboratively – combined those simple models into more complex models The models serve as tangible representations of thinking, allowing deeper exploration of ideas / issues, and were timed to keep us focused and on task.
The Power of Storytelling
Because part of the process is explaining what we built, storytelling becomes the way to create deeper understanding of the real issues and problems that need to be solved for and helped us realize viable options for a desired future state. The models triggered new thoughts and potential solutions, even surfacing what may be holding us back that we weren’t aware of. This fresh perspective comes from diving into the thought process behind the build, to the active listening and team sharing that follows. We all leaned in, and the more we built, the more we uncovered.
Mitch adds: “Using LSP, participants are able to tap into their creativity – often discovering things in their own models as they work to “explain” their builds to others. While it’s fun, it provides a very holistic approach to addressing challenges – and even provides a series of tangible objects that help explain how individuals may be interpreting the same words, concepts, situations, opportunities, etc., in different ways. Participants often grow closer and become stronger teams because they learn more about each other, as well as the business issues we’re addressing.”
Why I’d Recommend Trying It
First of all, this is fun. But it is also incredibly effective. The workshop breaks teams out of comfort zones and unlocks energy and excitement. The physical representations of ideas give a fresh perspective, encourage dialogue, participation and teamwork
The event’s halo effect has been strong too - since our session the positivity and application of the ideas has continued.
Here Are Some Pictures Of Our Workshop