One of the first questions people ask me about LEGO Serious Play is: What does it look like? Do you just dump a bunch of LEGO in front of people and say go for it? Is it building models together from instructions?
This brief video shows a LEGO Serious Play workshop in action. Take a look and after it I'll talk you through what actually happens in a session and why it's so powerful.
Two things to note from the video: As you can see this is the LEGO you remember from childhood. Lots of random bricks and you get to be creative and imaginative and there is not an instruction booklet in sight!
The other important thing to note is that the LEGO is just a tool to open up conversations. It's not about how "well" you build. If that weird looking thing you build is a representation of the strength you bring to the team, or a representation of your team/company/supplier/customer then it is! It's about the story you tell, the knowledge you unlock, not how it looks.
So the process...
LEGO Serious Play works best with a group of between 4 and 10 people.
There are a couple of warm up activities that get people used to playing with LEGO.
Then we take everyone through a serious of rounds each consisting of:
- Question: The facilitator poses a question.
- Build: Each person builds an individual model in response.
- Share: Going around the group, everyone shares the story of their model and how it relates to the question.
- Reflect: People reflect and question people on their models, leading to deeper and richer insights.
The facilitator then asks the next question that delves deeper into the problem, using the response from the previous round to fuel the next round of insights.
Question. Build. Share. Reflect.
Much like the bricks themselves, this basic format is extremely versatile. You can delve into more advanced variations where you get people to combine models or map out huge business landscapes. As you saw in the video towards the end, you can then get people to tell the story of these shared models, creating that shared understanding.
You can also combine this with other tools like scenario planning, building guiding principles and the Business Model Canvas. The method can adapt to fit what you need to solve the challenge in front of you.