The idea of the methodology originated in 1996 when two professors at IMD in Switzerland and The LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen were exploring alternative strategic planning tools and systems. They developed an understanding of the value of employees and the concept of an evolving, adaptive strategy that included using LEGO elements as three-dimensional models of business issues and challenges. The strategy was named LEGO SERIOUS PLAY.
The methodology is built upon a process which stems from the heart of LEGO elements and the LEGO building system. Looking for a tool to unlock imagination and innovation within the company, the LEGO Group realized that a solution might be found in the LEGO System in Play itself: Just as the LEGO Group had been inspiring children to ‘build their dreams’ for decades, so perhaps adults could be asked to build their visions for future strategy.
LEAN FORWARD “PROBLEM-SOLVING” TOOL
Depending on the complexity of the focused business topics, the facilitator states questions on several levels of reflection and abstraction to solve the business issues and applies one or more of the following technique(s)
Building Individual Models and Stories
The goal of this technique is to share individual and personal knowledge with the group. Each builder images and constructs an individual model for him/her to answer the question raised by the facilitator.
After building the builders shares their stories.
Building Shared Models and Stories
The goal of this technique is to create a shared understanding and consensus of certain topics.
The group consolidates all individual models in a common model agreed by all.
For this the participants integrate either (1) parts of the individual models, or (2) complete individual models.
Creating a Landscape
The goal of this technique is to analyse collections of individual models without losing details & meanings.
Participants analyse / categorise the collection of all individual models to see differences or common patterns.
The goal of this technique is to identify relationships, interfaces, and breakpoints between the meanings of two constructed models.
Connections are constructed by building physical links in using a chain, a tube, a string, or a hose. Connections can be strong, weak, or flexible.
Playing Emergence and Decisions
The goal of this technique: is to simulate the consequences of decisions by playing scenarios; to explore how the models or the landscape responds to dynamic changes / events.
Extracting Simple Guiding Principles
The goal of this technique is to transfer lessons learned in the LSP workshop to the workplace/floor shop.
In this technique the participants develop high-level guidelines to implement in the real world actions / decisions derived from the models built.
Lego offers custom-packaged boxes for workshops with specially designed bricks that many LSP facilitators swear by. Alternatively, though, workshops can also be held with childhood Lego bricks.
However, we’ve achieved excellent results even without time-consuming pre-sorting. Pouring the bricks into the middle of the table produces a colorful smorgasbord that makes the participants even keener to experiment.
That’s why we run our workshops with LSP Starter Kits mixed with sets of regular bricks bought on eBay. The important thing is to have enough boards, figurines and connecting elements – those items in particular are often lacking in boxes from the attic.
Basic rules of LSP
To ensure a level playing field for sharing ideas and overcome the boundaries of conventional discussion methods, all participants should agree on the following rules at the start of the workshop
- You build as you want!
- Think with your hands and trust your hands.
- Reached a dead end? Build something!
- It’s YOUR model.
- Only YOU decide its meaning and story.
- There are no wrong answers.
- Your Lego model is your answer to the question.
- Everyone builds, everyone tells.
THINK WITH YOUR HANDS!