This is the 2nd post in a series focusing on case studies and companies that have used LEGO Serious Play to help solve real challenges they were facing.
Over the last 2 years I've incorporated LEGO Serious Play into the development workshops I run with graduates (through my other company Burst Development). Burst specialises in helping companies fast track their graduate's development, getting them up to speed quicker and laying the foundation for a successful career.
While there was no one brief from a particular company, all my clients are looking for innovative and more effective ways to onboard and develop their graduates. LEGO Serious Play has proven itself an effective additional technique for a particular subset of graduate development needs.
What We Did
That fast tracking of a graduate's development begins as soon as they start, through their induction and onboarding. These sessions include skills training (e.g. communication basics, time management) but also include sections where graduates need to express themselves individually and as a group (on personal branding, expectations, self-awareness and company awareness). It is these topics where LEGO Serious Play really shines.
Examples of how it's used in graduate onboarding:
- Expectations play a huge role in how well a new starter fits into their work environment. Using LEGO Serious Play we get graduates to build their expectations. What will their managers be like, their colleagues, their day to day tasks. This uncovers any potential gaps between expectation and reality, allowing the graduate to manage their expectations instead of getting a rude shock when first joining their team.
- Personal Branding is an important skill for graduates to understanding as they begin to build their career. We get them to build their personal brand using LEGO. We find the layering of metaphors that LEGO allows fits perfectly with a graduate defining their own personal brand and how to implement it.
- Understanding the company, it's past, it's present and it's future is vitally important for graduates. We run a group activity where graduates build their understanding of the company with LEGO, assessing their understanding of where it's been, where it's at, but also highlighting the future they will be a part of.
At the first superficial level, graduates of age 21-25 love using LEGO. No surprises there. So they are definitely engaged. But is it effective?
From my experience delivering the same topic before I used LEGO Serious Play and after using it, the clear answer is yes it is more effective. The concepts, ideas, situations and solutions that the graduates are bringing up and discussing are far deeper and more meaningful than when using other techniques.
From the client's perspective, they are impressed with the discussions that LEGO Serious Play generates. I've also had clients say that over 12 months after their induction, graduates are still referring back to the LEGO Serious Play activities. They find that the concepts raised and the skills learnt are much "stickier", staying with the graduates longer and positively impacting their first year in full time work.
Like with many development activities, it's difficult to empirically quantify the benefits of applying LEGO Serious Play to onboarding. But this case study shows that the three groups involved (graduates, facilitator & client) all believe it enhances the process and promotes more powerful conversations. This clearly leads to memorable experiences that help a graduate to fell more integrated into the team, help them define their place and help them understand the company they have joined.
About the Author
Michael Fearne is the founder of Pivotal Play. An unconventional consultancy helping companies to solve problems and create more meaningful conversations through the power of LEGO Serious Play.