Satisfied with the Status Quo? LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is not for you.


Thanks to few articles written in the past, I had the opportunity to increase market awareness of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method and get more and more requests to deliver workshops based on this facilitation framework.

When initially talking with interested companies, there is a need for education on what LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is and what it is not. Summarizing the experience from different discussions(*), here are some typical “frequently asked questions” and related answers:

Q: "What kind of standard programs (understood "off the shelf type") can you offer with your method?"

A: None. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is a facilitated technique without any pre-defined content. It is a structure or language that can help real groups address real challenges (positive or negative ones) in real time.

Knowing more about the reason why leaders want to target a specific group or team, determines whether LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is the appropriate tool and how an intervention can be customized to meets specific objectives, needs and goals.

Q: Can we leverage our company’s frameworks with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?

A: Yes. And this is a best practice, indeed. Often, managers are familiar with internally used frameworks like Business Models, SWOT, Roadmap, etc. A workshop customized with known frameworks as basis, fully leverages LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® unique advantages, while presenting a familiar component to the participants.

For example, during a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® session, instead of writing about Business Models, building – yes, really creating 3D, tangible Business Models is a unique experience for leaders and ensures the leveraging of all internal expertise. The visual appearance and the metaphors used to describe the functioning of the Business Model open the minds to completely new perspectives and opportunities.

(read also “9 Reasons why Business Model Innovation and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® are a Perfect Match”)

Q: "What kind of challenges or topics do organizations and groups use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for?"

A: LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® can effectively be used for a wide range of challenges including but not limited to strategy development, strategic planning, transformations, organizational and business development, on-boarding, learning and development, career planning, market analysis, product development, team development and also for family and social development and in education.

Q: “What motivates leaders in using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?”

A: One common theme across all uses of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method is a universal desire to move to the “next level”.

Compared to – the typical – continuous improvement of processes, using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is more about breaking away from habitual thinking and operating, while creating a radical new way to see and execute.

Q: “Which mindset is necessary to succeed in leveraging LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?”

A: Users’ experience and feedback show that achieving results and goals that are worthy of being labelled as next level begins with questioning the current ways of preparing and making decisions about the future.

Many leaders summarize their thoughts with the belief that radical new results can only be achieved by radically changing things. Not by doing things as in the past, nor by implementing incremental improvements.

Q: “Which sources of insights are leveraged by LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?”

A: LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® believes that the solution is in the system. The people in the system or in the room subconsciously know how to get to the next level.

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® process unlock hidden and new knowledge of people and get them to break their habitual ways of thinking. This is the key requirement to allow the surfacing of deep, subconscious knowledge of people in the organization, team, or group.

My clients tell me that the by-product of such a level of involvement of company’s employees is that expensive strategy consultants are not longer necessary.

Q: “So, beside people, knowledge is the sole asset LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® uses…”

A: Reaching the next level requires deep understanding of the environment too, not just knowledge. Look at the Backward Bicycle for an analogy.

The video demonstrates that – because we know how it works – we all think we can ride this bicycle, right? Therefore, based on the experience in our heads, we falsely believe to understand how to ride the bicycle.

Only practicing riding the new bike allows the re-programming of our minds and skills.

Analogously, constructing with LEGO bricks and building 3D landscapes of status-quo and aspirations for the next level unlocks new knowledge by re-programming participants’ minds and skills and challenges habitual ways of making conclusions. Once this happens, we are on track to unlocking the next level.

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Would you like to test the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology in your company?

I am happy to work out a specific suggestion to target your unique situation. My email: lorenzo.nanetti@wanadoo.fr

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(*) Thanks to Robert Rasmussen at Rasmussen Consulting I/S for sharing his thoughts with me.

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