LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) is a great methodology that uses and builds on team thinking and equal communication. It allows the team to clarify and understand current situations, ambitions and objectives, and how they can be implemented. It is an excellent tool for organisations to define their strategies, solve problems and devise plans.
The methodology was developed to respond to the changing challenges facing businesses, business management and management methodologies. LEGO researchers started to think about the development of a playful method in the mid-90s. The method relies on scientific foundations, i.e., it is supported by consistent research and was finally unveiled in 2010. It is based on a trend referred to as gamification which is based on the idea that playful/gamified components are being used in a serious environment.
LSP can process and solve problems which cannot be solved by any other traditional methodologies, unless with a great difficulty.
Its purpose is to facilitate creative thinking within a group by using metaphors. According to the developers of the methodology, by formulating and visualizing their ideas primarily not through words and sentences, but instead, by using LEGO bricks, team members are able to communicate these ideas more efficiently. Accordingly, the 24 kilogram of LEGO breaks and other components – as that much is needed for the „ serious play” – represent merely one, although a fundamental component and tool of the methodology.
Playfulness results in a more motivated and more efficient way to spend time and work together. On the occasion of the joint thinking/meeting sessions, team members can resolve problems and situations by analysing them increasingly deeper and more in details by working through imaginary scenarios. Participants work through the imaginary scenarios and answer the questions of the facilitator/trainer using three-dimensional LEGO constructions. These models serve as the basis of future discussions, knowledge sharing, problem solving and decision making. The methodology requires the participants to use different communication channels during the meeting /workshop, such as speech (auditory communication) and even more visual communication.
We are building it and talking about it. And talking about LEGO models means using a kind of common language, where we leave the background, the culture and the company position of the participants out of consideration. This is a so-called common, international language.
With the help of the special LEGO kit and by using the methodology the connections and links among individuals, the people and the surrounding world as well as the internal and external dynamics can be more easily identified. The various real or hypothetical scenarios or possibilities can be mapped. That is: we can talk about each other (in the particular situation: about the models created from the LEGO blocks), about the relationship between people, events, actual topics by not being afraid of the various limitations, such as personal feelings. This is possible because we are not specifically talking about each other, or about events etc., but about the models (by visualizing them).
The purpose of the LEGO® Serious Play® method is to increase business performance. It is based on the conviction that everyone within a particular organization must be given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion, and through that, to the decisions and to the results. In all this, the LEGO blocks are only a kind of catalyst that can initiate some discussion flows that were previously not possible.
In order to fully exploit all the benefits, it is recommended to use the methodology with the help of a certified LEGO® Serious Play® facilitator.
At Ergomania, we worked on an application currently under development with the help of this method. Through teamwork, led by Senior Service Design consultant Zoltán Dévai, we developed a Business model canvas related to an application. Together we deliberated on the potential partners, the required resources, and we identified the various functionalities of the application to create value as well as the value propositions. We collected the potential clients and possible partners and set up the possible interfaces and tools of interactions and communication as well as the estimated expenses and possible income sources. By thinking not through words, but through metaphors (with constructions built out of LEGO blocks) everyone’s ideas and thoughts could flow more freely.