How Luke Curran uses Lego for exploring organisational development
In the late 1990s the CEO of the Lego Corporation was interested in improving the quality of the strategy formation within the company. A Swedish academic suggested that he should use his company’s own product to do this and Lego Serious Play (LSP) was born. Today LSP is an established facilitation technique which encourages collaboration, creativity and shared ownership of outcomes. LSP involves getting people to build models in response to a particular question and sharing the ‘story’ of their model with the whole group. These metaphorical models can then be in a variety of ways. You can combine them to create a shared model as a joint response to question. You can landscape the models to explore the connections between them and external factors. You can play consequences where you explore how alterations in the external environment affect the model and therefore the answer to the question that was originally posed.
Within churches, I have used LSP:
- To enable the members of a local congregation to explore and develop a shared understanding of their local mission and ministry and its relationship with the wider community.
- As a bible study method, where participants build models to explain their understanding of a particular passage.
- To explore issues of vocation and identity.
Part of the value of LSP is that everyone contributes to the discussion as everyone builds and talks about a model. It can also be used with all-age groups as well as adults.
Feedback from sessions tends to be consistently good, emphasising that the process has offered new insights into the question or topic under exploration while involving everyone in the conversation.
This sits well with the theoretical foundation of LSP which emphasises play, constructionism and imagination. Play as an intentional adult activity encourages social bonding, emotional expression and constructive competition, while storytelling and metaphor are key components of play for all ages. Constructionism suggests that when you construct in the physical world you also construct mental knowledge and understanding and that this ‘thinking with your fingers’ accesses creativity, modes of thinking and ways of seeing which lie beyond those we can access simply by using words. Imagination is initiated through the play and constructivist elements of LSP to enable participants to see what is possible in a situation rather than simply replicating probable outcomes based on prior experience and previous solutions.
Would you like to play?