LEGO® Serious Play®: Beyond Child’s Play in the Corporate World
“How is LSP becoming the new vanguard in corporate training?” Conventional training must catch up as the business world evolves to catalyze true innovation and engagement.
Enter LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) — a groundbreaking approach that’s revolutionizing the corporate training landscape. Marrying creativity with strategic thinking, LSP offers a fresh lens to view and tackle pressing business challenges. And for those of us in Indonesia, we’re fortunate to have experts like my esteemed colleague and senior, Viktor Yanuar, leading the charge in this transformative methodology, setting new benchmarks in corporate training one LEGO® brick at a time.
What is LEGO® Serious Play®?
Born in the late 1990s, LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) was the brainchild of two professors from IMD, Switzerland: Johan Roos and Bart Victor. The duo recognized the potential of LEGO® bricks as a tool for organizational development, diverging from traditional brainstorming and strategic planning methods. LEGO Group then appointed Robert Rasmussen, Director of Research and Development for LEGO Education at that time, to help the two professors refine and expand this methodology, creating a structured process that businesses worldwide now use.
At its core, LSP is grounded in constructivist theory, suggesting that individuals learn best when they actively create or construct knowledge. Instead of being passive recipients of information, participants in an LSP session engage in “hand-mind” learning, simultaneously utilizing cognitive and physical skills.
The methodology operates on a set of guiding principles:
- Thinking with Hands: By building with LEGO® bricks, participants engage in a 3D modeling process, often leading to deeper insights and more creative solutions.
- Everyone Participates: Unlike traditional meetings where a few voices may dominate, LSP ensures that every participant contributes equally, valuing each individual’s perspective.
- The Power of Metaphor and Story: Once models are built, participants assign meanings to them and share stories, enhancing clarity and mutual understanding.
LSP sessions are versatile and can be tailored to address specific challenges or goals. A typical session involves posing a question or challenge, constructing individual or shared LEGO® models in response, and then discussing and reflecting on the built models. This iterative process allows teams to dive deeper into topics, fostering a shared understanding and generating actionable insights.
The Business Benefits of LEGO® Serious Play®
Facilitating Open Communication:
Traditional business environments often suffer from hierarchical structures that stifle open dialogue. Employees, especially those lower in the pecking order, might feel intimidated or reluctant to voice their opinions, leading to missed insights.
Through the neutral and playful medium of LEGO® bricks, LSP creates a level playing field where all participants, irrespective of their corporate status, are encouraged to express themselves. Salesforce research indicates that 86% of employees and executives believe ineffective communication is responsible for workplace failures. LSP ensures a more holistic understanding of challenges and solutions by breaking these communication barriers.
Enhancing Creative Problem-Solving:
In an era of fast-paced technological advancements and market shifts, businesses must think out of the box to stay ahead.
LSP taps into the power of hands-on creativity. By translating abstract concepts into tangible LEGO® models, participants can visualize challenges and opportunities, paving the way for innovative solutions that might not have surfaced in traditional brainstorming sessions.
Boosting Team Collaboration:
Collaborative teams are the backbone of successful enterprises. As per Harvard Business Review, businesses with strong team collaboration are five times likelier to perform at high levels.
LSP acts as a catalyst for collaboration. Team members develop a mutual understanding by building shared models, bridging departmental or functional silos. This collaborative spirit, fostered in LSP sessions, often translates into better real-world teamwork and project execution.
Unearthing Hidden Insights:
Every organization possesses latent knowledge—valuable insights buried deep within its members, often overlooked in routine operations.
Through building and storytelling, LSP facilitates the surfacing of these hidden nuggets of wisdom. As participants construct models that symbolize their roles, experiences, and perspectives, they unveil insights that can be instrumental in shaping strategies and decisions.
Application in Various Business Domains
Imagine a tech startup wanting to expand its product portfolio. LSP can aid in mapping out the competitive landscape, identifying gaps, and building a roadmap for future product launches.
Through LSP, teams can visualize the company’s current positioning, future aspirations, and the potential challenges they might face. By constructing detailed models, stakeholders can gain a clearer perspective on strategic pathways, leading to more cohesive and actionable plans.
LSP can highlight cultural nuances for a multinational corporation with teams across different regions, ensuring a harmonized culture is cultivated across all offices.
Using LSP, companies can address potential cultural clashes and work towards a unified, shared understanding of the organization’s ethos. By building models representing values, behaviors, and desired cultural norms, teams can engage in constructive dialogues to bridge cultural gaps.
Imagine a consumer electronics company planning a new wearable device that can use LSP to model user interactions, hardware integrations, and potential design improvements.
LSP facilitates a hands-on approach to product ideation and refinement. Research and development teams can represent product features, user journeys, and potential pain points through LEGO® models, leading to more user-centric designs and quicker feedback loops.
For a financial institution assessing risks in new investment avenues, LSP can help visualize market volatilities, regulatory challenges, and other potential roadblocks, ensuring a more informed investment strategy.
Through collaborative building sessions, teams can simulate various risk scenarios, assessing their potential impact and devising mitigation strategies. This tangible representation of risks allows for a proactive approach to risk management.
Implementing LSP in Your Organization
Preparing for an LSP Session:
Just like any strategic business tool, the success of LSP depends on proper planning and preparation.
At the core, an LSP session requires a set of LEGO® bricks. These are not random assortments but specific sets designed for LSP to facilitate a wide range of discussions. In addition, a conducive environment is crucial—preferably a quiet, spacious room that allows participants to spread out and engage without distractions.
Clearly defining the goals of the session beforehand is vital. Whether tackling a specific challenge, brainstorming a new initiative, or team-building, clarity of purpose ensures the session remains focused and yields actionable outcomes.
Role of a Facilitator:
SP is not a free-for-all LEGO® building session. It’s a structured process, and the role of a facilitator is pivotal.
An LSP facilitator guides participants through specific tasks, asks probing questions, and ensures the session stays on track. They are trained to interpret LEGO® models, drive meaningful discussions, and help participants derive deep insights from their constructions.
While external certified LSP facilitators can be hired, organizations can also invest in training internal team members. The key is to ensure that the facilitator is adept at guiding conversations, is neutral, and can foster an environment of openness and creativity.
Post-session Analysis and Integration:
The real value of an LSP session emerges from translating the insights gathered during the session into actionable strategies such as:
- Decoding the Models: After building, teams should spend ample time interpreting their LEGO® creations. This involves understanding the symbolism behind each model, extracting insights, and discussing potential applications.
- Documenting Insights: Capturing the key takeaways in the form of notes, photos, or even videos ensures that the insights from the session can be referred back to and integrated into business strategies.
- Follow-up: Regular reviews of the LSP session outcomes help track implementation and measure the impact. Moreover, periodic LSP sessions can be organized to revisit challenges, iterate solutions, and continuously align the team.
Overcoming Potential Hurdles in Implementing LSP
Perception of Play in a Business Setting:
Many business professionals, conditioned by traditional corporate environments, might be skeptical about introducing a playful method like LSP. They could see it as frivolous or a distraction from “serious” work.
- Lack of Facilitator Expertise: Investing in a certified LSP facilitator is essential, at least for the initial sessions. As the organization becomes more familiar with the methodology, it can consider training internal champions to facilitate sessions, ensuring they align with company-specific nuances.
- Time and Resource Commitment: Businesses need to view LSP as an investment rather than a cost. The potential benefits in terms of improved team collaboration, innovative solutions, and strategic insights often far outweigh the time and monetary commitments.
- Integration with Existing Processes: Some organizations might need help to see how LSP fits within their existing workflows, strategic planning sessions, or problem-solving frameworks.
- Maintaining Momentum Post-session: Regular follow-ups are essential. Documenting the outcomes of each session, setting actionable next steps, and revisiting LSP-derived insights in subsequent meetings can ensure that the momentum is maintained and the benefits of LSP are integrated into ongoing operations.
In reflecting upon the transformative power of LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) in the business context, several key takeaways are evident:
- Unparalleled Engagement: LSP offers a depth of participant engagement that few methodologies can rival, turning brainstorming sessions into hotbeds of actionable insights.
- Facilitating Complex Conversations: The ability to visualize and articulate abstract concepts makes LSP an invaluable tool for clear communication and problem-solving.
- Encouraging Diverse Participation: By giving each participant an equal voice, LSP ensures that businesses benefit from a comprehensive range of perspectives.
- A Tool for Adaptability and Change: Whether it’s a merger, a strategic shift, or organizational change, LSP helps teams align with and navigate new directions.
- Tangible ROI through Strategic Insights: Beyond engagement, the outcomes of LSP sessions directly impact strategies, collaborations, and innovation, providing a tangible return on investment.
- A Future-Ready Approach: With the potential for integration with evolving technologies and its innate adaptability, LSP is primed for continued relevance in the changing business landscape.
Viktor Yanuar has earned a reputation as Indonesia’s leading certified LSP facilitator. His deep knowledge of the LSP methodology, coupled with a keen understanding of the unique challenges faced by Indonesian enterprises, allows him to offer tailored solutions for every business. By marrying the global principles of LSP with local business insights, Viktor ensures that companies don’t just adopt the methodology but harness its full potential for tangible results.
In today’s fluid business climate, his expertise offers organizations the tools to adapt and flourish. The consistent success stories associated with Viktor’s guidance speak volumes about his dedication and prowess, marking him as an essential partner for businesses aiming to leverage the transformative capabilities of LEGO® Serious Play®
Please reach out to him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/viktoryanuarexcellenceasia/.