Lego Serious Play > What is it and what can you use it for in HE?

What is it and what can you use it for in Higher Education?

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and it use with staff and students in Higher Education.
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LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is quoted on the Lego® Website as, “a powerful tool designed to enhance innovation and business performance”.

The originally methodology for Lego® Serious Play® was developed by three people, in 1996, two professors, Johan Roos and Bart Victor of IMD, Switzerland, working alongside LEGO® Group CEO and owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen were exploring alternative tools and systems for business development and strategy. Lego® Serious Play® was the outcome.

The method utilises bricks to build solutions to challenges. The builds are the participants answers to the challenge. For me there are five key aspects of Lego® Serious Play®.

  1. Firstly, it encourages the participants to using the bricks as metaphors in storytelling about their solutions.
  2. Secondly, it involves play as a vehicle to encourage deeper levels of thinking.
  3. Thirdly, participation requires a specific way of sharing ideas and thoughts with others by telling your own ‘story’ and listening to other participants in turn.
  4. Fourthly, this is a visual, kinaesthetic experience. It links your hands to your mind in a way which is only reached by making, seeing, doing, visualising.
  5. Fifth, it is process of concretizing and externalising ideas. Ideas are built and can be discussed at a ‘distance’ from the individual expressing them.

The results are usually enlightening, with new insights and perspectives being common outcomes. Often, I have found those insights to be not only new to the other participants but to each participant themselves. I am still not sure how this works and how it is significantly different to post-its or a flip chart but it absolutely is. And it works fast, perhaps faster than any other method I have used with typical builds being 4-10 minutes and sharing 2-4 minutes for each participant. When the challenge for the build is shared problem the result of participants each delivering individual perspective, insight and solutions can be very powerful. This is why it is so useful in a business environment because it fits with the shred vision of an organisation. Higher education challenges are more varied but with some careful construction of the challenge it can be applied very easily and further videos explore this.