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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (LSP): Solving Business Challenges Through the Power of Play


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Our brain is one of the most miraculous forces in the universe, and learning how to master it is one of the keys to our success. A unique way to unleash this force is by playing. 

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) method could help businesses and people solve critical challenges and create strategies. The LSP is a facilitated thinking, communication and problem-solving technique that can be used by organizations, teams, and individuals. It draws on extensive research from the fields of business, organizational development, psychology, and learning. It is based on the concept of “hand knowledge.”

The history begins in 1995, when Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grand child of the founder of LEGO®  started to lead the company. While the company was successful, a new strategy was needed. At the same time, Johan Roos and Bart Victor, two professors from the IMD business school in Lausanne, were looking into different ways of creating strategies. Kristiansen connected with the two professors, and over the next couple of years, they implemented their strategy concept using LEGO bricks instead of usual methods, like if words, Post-it Notes, and whiteboards. The business school professors experimented with and became more adept at building with LEGO® bricks. However, something still did not click. The bricks alone did not result in new thinking and more imagination. Paradoxically, what was missing was what LEGO® as an organization knows at its core: how humans learn and develop. To address this, Robert Rasmussen became involved in 1999. From that point on, they worked and developed the method. 

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is based on a set of fundamental beliefs about leadership and organizations:

  • Leaders don’t have all the answers.
  • Their success is dependent on hearing all voices in the room.
  • People naturally want to contribute, be part of something bigger, and take ownership
  • All too often, teams work sub-optimally, leaving knowledge untapped in team members.
  • We live in a world that can be described as complex and adaptive, and allowing each member to contribute and speak results in a more sustainable business.

Creating the Mission and Vision Through LSP

Company or departmental vision or mission statements are often long. They have been formulated by several people who all wanted to include something. They are not always memorable, and many employees can’t recite them, and many don’t even understand what they mean, let alone support them. In 2017, Derek Good, LEGO Serious Play facilitator, had a workshop and helped a team create a short, succinct, and memorable vision or mission statement from the existing one. The team was formed from a group of leaders in a university’s brand and marketing department.

After two warm up exercises, the group was asked to create two models:

  1. Representing their ideal working environment and 
  2. Representing what they could do to demonstrate living the current mission.
This got them thinking about the future and their current belief in the existing direction.

Next, each person was asked to build a model that represented an aspect of trust. Each person was then asked to place a red brick on the most important element of their individual model. 

Then, in pairs, they formed a shared model and were asked to eliminate any excess bricks while still holding the same meaning of the newly combined model. They did several rounds of this, and they were consistently told that they may still have too many bricks, and so long as they kept the essence of the meaning, they were to remove any excess bricks they could. The pairs were able to reduce the models significantly.

They were then paired in three groups, and the facilitator shared the vision and mission statement on a screen and asked the participants to use the same procedure: What words can be reduced from the statement but keep the essence of the meaning? After three rounds of discussion, they managed to have a new vision and mission statement: a seven-word mission statement. The initial one had 29 words. 

This was done in less than 30 minutes, something that in the past took them more hours, but not with the expected result. The people involved were extremely enthusiastic about the process. It is amazing how our minds can send us the right solution to our challenge by playing. 

The LSP method is not based on any new or groundbreaking science. Instead, it is grounded in action research and evidence drawn from a range of existing science disciplines and proven research within these fields. The dominant disciplines are Constructivism, Neuroscience, Flow, Play, and Imagination. Also, if you want to learn more about how to create your own strategy for your company of your activity, you can check our Certified Strategy and Business Planning Professional, which can help you better understand how strategy works.

How Can Organizations Adopt the Genius Hour Strategy?


Image Source: Qimono | Pixabay

The genius hour is now an emerging trend in education that encourages students to learn based on their passion, background, and interests. It is considered less formal and less standardized than traditional approaches in learning.

Jen Schneider discussed how genius hour works in her article on EdSurge. The concept began with Daniel Pink’s notion of what drives people at work. He said that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are intrinsic motivators needed in the 21st century. 

He cited Atlassian and how they had a FedEx day at work as an example of applying autonomy in the workplace. The employees are given 24 hours to work on something they want to, with a team they want to work with, and ship it after the allotted time. It was initially called FedEx day because they have to deliver innovation “overnight.” Since 2005, the program has been called ShipIt. Atlassian’s ShipIt is continuously done and has been modified further to adapt to a remote-working culture in the advent of the pandemic.

Pink explored Richard Ryan and Edward Deci’s self-determination theory of motivation in his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” In their studies, Ryan and Deci discovered that people who worked on a problem-solving task without incentives finished it faster than people who were told they would get payment for their work. 

Ryan and Deci concluded that intrinsic motivation, or motivation that originates from personal interest, has more impact than extrinsic motivation, which depends on external rewards, like payment or recognition.

With freedom and dedicated innovation time, learners are able to set their own goals and pace and at the same time boost a genuine love for learning. In an employee’s case, the genuine hour as dedicated innovation time might be a way to build or rebuild a genuine love for what they do. 

How can other organizations or even individuals implement their own genius hour and deliver results?

How to Implement the Genius Hour

In the context of education, the genius hour allows students to dedicate one hour per week to work on something that they are passionate about. However, Schneider emphasized that students must follow these three rules:

  1. “start with an essential question that cannot be answered with a simple Google search”
  2. “research the question using reputable websites, interviews, and/or print resources”
  3. “create something – the product may be digital, physical, or service-oriented.”

The rules are lenient as well on the side of Atlassian. Their challenge for every ShipIt day is to drop everything work-related and identify and solve other problems of any kind and any size by working with a team of your choice. 

The end results or products are then awarded accordingly. Atlassian is known to be a technical organization, but it does not limit the ShipIt days to only technical problems and solutions. Therefore, the event becomes inclusive and brings out the innovators in everyone.


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