What do you want to build with LEGO SERIOUS PLAY?
  • A better business
  • A more effective team
  • High performing individuals
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A better business

Five powerful examples

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY has many practical applications. Here are five examples that detail its impact and flexibility in building a better business.

The options areA�limited only by your imagination.

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Business model development

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Ownership transition

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Value proposition development

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Project kick-off

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Strategy development

This workshop combines LEGO SERIOUS PLAY with Osterwaldera��s popular Business Model Canvas. It begins with the idea development stage, using LEGO to generate viable ideas and associated value proposition. This Value Proposition isA�then transferred to the business model canvas where models are created, first individually and then as shared model, in order to define the other elements of the canvas. Connections are made across the canvas, testing the relationship between each, before drawing up a range of hypotheses which need to be tested in successive stages.

The transition of a company from its founders to the next generation of leaders represents a significant organisational and cultural challenge for any company.

In this case, the newly appointed owners wanted to create a new working culture, separate from that of the foundersa��, and highlight key areas for organisational development. They used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY with a group of newly identified leaders within the company, building successive rounds of individual and shared models, in order to identify new approaches, highlight new aspirations, and establish a new leadership culture within the business.

Shifting from a focus on product features to customer benefits and value created can be challenging for a traditional mindset.

The use of LEGO to build individual and shared models of their organisational identity, followed by a landscape of customer gains, pains and jobs-to-do, allowed the team to better understand the context of their work and what value the department was trying to create for their customers.

In they context the team were then able to create a shared model of their value proposition, which resulted in a new value proposition that focused on the customer and not (just) on great product features.

A workshop to create a shared understanding of the product and build a common vision with desired outcomes to act as a guiding star to all who worked on it.

The workshop also identified and prioritised the key issues that had to be addressed, created a positive spirit before the project started, and transform a group of individuals with varying degrees of interest in the project into a team of shared expertise who were motivated toward achieving a common goal.

This was achieved by building individual models of the project, integrating them into a shared model, before creating a landscape, making connections and testing them to discover the key issues which may arise as the project develops. This learning was then integrated into the project as it developed.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY can also be used to facilitate strategic development.

In this case, it was decided that several LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshops with key team members would be run. In each, participants built models to showcase the current situation, the strategic landscape, the aspiration for what the business could become, what the focus area should be in the future, before finally rating priorities in order to highlight key areas of focus.

Taking the learning from these workshops executives were then enabled to formally assess a range of potential areas, using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to test them out by playing scenarios which helped to inform their strategic choices.

+ Business model development

This workshop combines LEGO SERIOUS PLAY with Osterwaldera��s popular Business Model Canvas. It begins with the idea development stage, using LEGO to generate viable ideas and associated value proposition. This Value Proposition isA�then transferred to the business model canvas where models are created, first individually and then as shared model, in order to define the other elements of the canvas. Connections are made across the canvas, testing the relationship between each, before drawing up a range of hypotheses which need to be tested in successive stages.

+ Ownership transition

The transition of a company from its founders to the next generation of leaders represents a significant organisational and cultural challenge for any company.

In this case, the newly appointed owners wanted to create a new working culture, separate from that of the foundersa��, and highlight key areas for organisational development. They used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY with a group of newly identified leaders within the company, building successive rounds of individual and shared models, in order to identify new approaches, highlight new aspirations, and establish a new leadership culture within the business.

+ Value proposition development

Shifting from a focus on product features to customer benefits and value created can be challenging for a traditional mindset.

The use of LEGO to build individual and shared models of their organisational identity, followed by a landscape of customer gains, pains and jobs-to-do, allowed the team to better understand the context of their work and what value the department was trying to create for their customers.

In they context the team were then able to create a shared model of their value proposition, which resulted in a new value proposition that focused on the customer and not (just) on great product features.

+ Project kick-off

A workshop to create a shared understanding of the product and build a common vision with desired outcomes to act as a guiding star to all who worked on it.

The workshop also identified and prioritised the key issues that had to be addressed, created a positive spirit before the project started, and transform a group of individuals with varying degrees of interest in the project into a team of shared expertise who were motivated toward achieving a common goal.

This was achieved by building individual models of the project, integrating them into a shared model, before creating a landscape, making connections and testing them to discover the key issues which may arise as the project develops. This learning was then integrated into the project as it developed.

+ Strategy development

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY can also be used to facilitate strategic development.

In this case, it was decided that several LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshops with key team members would be run. In each, participants built models to showcase the current situation, the strategic landscape, the aspiration for what the business could become, what the focus area should be in the future, before finally rating priorities in order to highlight key areas of focus.

Taking the learning from these workshops executives were then enabled to formally assess a range of potential areas, using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to test them out by playing scenarios which helped to inform their strategic choices.

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More effective teams

Five powerful examples

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY has many practical applications.Here are five examples that detail its impact and flexibility in building more effective teams.

The options areA�limited only by your imagination.

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Building a transformational leadership team

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Concept development

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Team building

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Building a shared vision

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Ideation

With the establishment of a new leadership team and the need to deliver transformational business goals, a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop was used to create a new standard for leadership.

Participants began by building individual models of themselves that explored their values, leadership strengths, and competencies. Following this, models were built which explored what characterised the team as a whole, the barriers to transformation, and a future vision for what they could become. The workshop closed with the identification of initiatives which would help them achieve their vision.

Following a merger, a department was challenged to create a new concept for a retail and showroom space that was to be both a�?surprisinga�� and a�?impressivea��.

Participants began by building individual models of what they thought a surprising and impressive space could be before integrating them into a shared model and creating and sharing the story of that model. This accelerated the definition stage of the space, overcame existing rivalries and misunderstandings following the merger, and helped to create what became the surprising and impressive space the company desired.

High performing teams are created out of a solid foundation of mutual respect and understanding.

The workshop began with participants building individual models that represented their identity including their values, hidden and obvious talents, etc, which were shared among the group. Connections were made between team members based on resonance, admiration, or aspiration.

The key strength of each participant was highlighted and a shared model was built out of these and a story about the team was created. A landscape was then constructed based on the context in which the team works and connections between the team to the landscape were added. Various scenarios were played out which tested the teama��s resilience and explored how the team could support each other and maintain high performance. Finally, the teama��s guiding principles were then created.

In they context the team were then able to create a shared model of their value proposition, which resulted in a new value proposition that focused on the customer and not (just) on great product features.

This workshop is excellent for new teams or existing teams that are being asked to significantly step-up in their capacity to deliver.

Participants are asked to build individual models to describe what they think their team is famous for which is then shared with the group. Participants then identify the core aspects of their models and these are collectively integrated into a shared model which reflects how they perceive to be seen in a given period of time.

Successive builds then take place, identifying the key values, behaviours, and blockers to realising the vision of this team, each of which begins with individual building and then proceeds to shared model building.

Further work is then carried out to assess the level of agreement about the results and any remaining concerns, followed by the development of a range of action plans to develop the requisite values and behaviours, or to remove the blockers.

Innovation is increasingly in demand and new ideas are the currency of innovation. Given its play credentials LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is ideally suited to brainstorming (or should that be hand-storming?), and also offers a way to integrate ideas and assess their value.

Working in small groups, participants begin by getting in flow a�� creating as many ideas about a non-related subject. Focusing on a particular customer segment, participants build individual models reflecting their segmentsa�� respective pains, gains, and jobs to do, before combining them into a shared model. This furnishes them with an in-depth understanding of their segment.

Working individually but still within designated groups, participants then create models for products related to this particular segment. These models are annotated and then shared with the whole group and then voted on (using lego pieces).A�Reflecting on the selected models, action plans were then created to further develop the ideas.

+ Building a transformational leadership team

With the establishment of a new leadership team and the need to deliver transformational business goals, a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop was used to create a new standard for leadership.

Participants began by building individual models of themselves that explored their values, leadership strengths, and competencies. Following this, models were built which explored what characterised the team as a whole, the barriers to transformation, and a future vision for what they could become. The workshop closed with the identification of initiatives which would help them achieve their vision.

+ Concept development

Following a merger, a department was challenged to create a new concept for a retail and showroom space that was to be both a�?surprisinga�� and a�?impressivea��.

Participants began by building individual models of what they thought a surprising and impressive space could be before integrating them into a shared model and creating and sharing the story of that model. This accelerated the definition stage of the space, overcame existing rivalries and misunderstandings following the merger, and helped to create what became the surprising and impressive space the company desired.

+ Team building

High performing teams are created out of a solid foundation of mutual respect and understanding.

The workshop began with participants building individual models that represented their identity including their values, hidden and obvious talents, etc, which were shared among the group. Connections were made between team members based on resonance, admiration, or aspiration.

The key strength of each participant was highlighted and a shared model was built out of these and a story about the team was created. A landscape was then constructed based on the context in which the team works and connections between the team to the landscape were added. Various scenarios were played out which tested the teama��s resilience and explored how the team could support each other and maintain high performance. Finally, the teama��s guiding principles were then created.

In they context the team were then able to create a shared model of their value proposition, which resulted in a new value proposition that focused on the customer and not (just) on great product features.

+ Building a shared vision

This workshop is excellent for new teams or existing teams that are being asked to significantly step-up in their capacity to deliver.

Participants are asked to build individual models to describe what they think their team is famous for which is then shared with the group. Participants then identify the core aspects of their models and these are collectively integrated into a shared model which reflects how they perceive to be seen in a given period of time.

Successive builds then take place, identifying the key values, behaviours, and blockers to realising the vision of this team, each of which begins with individual building and then proceeds to shared model building.

Further work is then carried out to assess the level of agreement about the results and any remaining concerns, followed by the development of a range of action plans to develop the requisite values and behaviours, or to remove the blockers.

+ Ideation

Innovation is increasingly in demand and new ideas are the currency of innovation. Given its play credentials LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is ideally suited to brainstorming (or should that be hand-storming?), and also offers a way to integrate ideas and assess their value.

Working in small groups, participants begin by getting in flow a�� creating as many ideas about a non-related subject. Focusing on a particular customer segment, participants build individual models reflecting their segmentsa�� respective pains, gains, and jobs to do, before combining them into a shared model. This furnishes them with an in-depth understanding of their segment.

Working individually but still within designated groups, participants then create models for products related to this particular segment. These models are annotated and then shared with the whole group and then voted on (using lego pieces).A�Reflecting on the selected models, action plans were then created to further develop the ideas.

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High performance individuals

Five powerful examples

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY has many practical applications.Here are five examples that detail its impact and flexibility in creating high performance individuals.

The options areA�limited only by your imagination.

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Career development

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Talent development

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Goal setting

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Developing strategic thinking capabilities

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High performance management

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY was used as a core element within a wider career development programme for a large company. This sought to help middle managers plan for the future and develop their own career goals which took into account the companya��s own long-term goals and mission and helped to guide participantsa�� decisions about which proper steps they need to take to accomplish their goals inside the company.

Participants used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to review their past, imagine their future, create accelerators that would boost their progress to an imagined future, and uncover obstacles that may keep them from reaching it.

As a traditional industry begin to be disrupted and the status quo started to change, a mid-sized business sought to disrupt itself internally through the faster development of its own talent, and chose to use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY as a means to facilitate an innovative process that encouraged employees to learn strategy in a different way.

The company chose to set up a case study with a company that was sufficiently similar and different to itself and then used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to develop a new strategy and action plan. Participants built a a�?todaya�� situation, then create a new model that showed what the company could become. From there, the management team transformed those individual models of the vision into a shared model, developed an action plan, and presented it to executives.

The intervention embedded strategic thought into individuals who dona��t have to think about strategy or vision on a daily basis, and better understood the decision-making process that executives must make frequently.

This is a one-to-one workshop and would typically be used as part of a wider coaching programme or at appropriate opportunities, for example in the run up to annual reviews.

Participants build models of their important personal or professional goals and then supplement this with another model to show their current situation in relation to their goal. Models to represent roadblocks are then constructed which are then placed in the landscape. Finally, the participant is asked to build the actions that lead them past the roadblocks and to their goal.

Participants are then able to translate these goals into action plans which can be integrated into the regular reviewing process.

Developed for an organisation that was transitioning its leaders from a transactional to a transformational leadership style which emphasised motivation, empowerment, and thinking strategically.

Participants identified what they considered to be the core characteristics of strategic leadership, building individual models and then negotiating them into a shared model. Following this, they built individual models representing the future landscape in which strategic leadership would be required, connecting the landscape to their shared model.

Following this, they tested various scenarios, identifying the likely pressures and potential responses to the scenarios in order to widen understanding and provide insight. Finally, they extracted Simple Guiding Principles in order to guide their leadership practice.

This workshop was used as part of a wider training course focused on the development of core management competencies.

Participants were first asked to build models describing the identity of their nightmare supervisor. After sharing and reflection, participants were then asked to build a model of the identity of their perfect supervisor. After sharing, these individual models were negotiated into a shared model that everyone could commit to in their development.

Participants then conducted two building rounds, creating the key competencies which they felt that managers should possess. These models were then placed into a landscape around their shared model, with must have competencies closest, then good to have, and finally nice to have competencies.

The workshop served to improve understanding of the core competencies of good managers, which were then used to inform the wider developmental plan of the new manager.

+ Career development

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY was used as a core element within a wider career development programme for a large company. This sought to help middle managers plan for the future and develop their own career goals which took into account the companya��s own long-term goals and mission and helped to guide participantsa�� decisions about which proper steps they need to take to accomplish their goals inside the company.

Participants used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to review their past, imagine their future, create accelerators that would boost their progress to an imagined future, and uncover obstacles that may keep them from reaching it.

+ Talent development

As a traditional industry begin to be disrupted and the status quo started to change, a mid-sized business sought to disrupt itself internally through the faster development of its own talent, and chose to use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY as a means to facilitate an innovative process that encouraged employees to learn strategy in a different way.

The company chose to set up a case study with a company that was sufficiently similar and different to itself and then used LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to develop a new strategy and action plan. Participants built a a�?todaya�� situation, then create a new model that showed what the company could become. From there, the management team transformed those individual models of the vision into a shared model, developed an action plan, and presented it to executives.

The intervention embedded strategic thought into individuals who dona��t have to think about strategy or vision on a daily basis, and better understood the decision-making process that executives must make frequently.

+ Goal setting

This is a one-to-one workshop and would typically be used as part of a wider coaching programme or at appropriate opportunities, for example in the run up to annual reviews.

Participants build models of their important personal or professional goals and then supplement this with another model to show their current situation in relation to their goal. Models to represent roadblocks are then constructed which are then placed in the landscape. Finally, the participant is asked to build the actions that lead them past the roadblocks and to their goal.

Participants are then able to translate these goals into action plans which can be integrated into the regular reviewing process.

+ Developing strategic thinking capabilities

Developed for an organisation that was transitioning its leaders from a transactional to a transformational leadership style which emphasised motivation, empowerment, and thinking strategically.

Participants identified what they considered to be the core characteristics of strategic leadership, building individual models and then negotiating them into a shared model. Following this, they built individual models representing the future landscape in which strategic leadership would be required, connecting the landscape to their shared model.

Following this, they tested various scenarios, identifying the likely pressures and potential responses to the scenarios in order to widen understanding and provide insight. Finally, they extracted Simple Guiding Principles in order to guide their leadership practice.

+ High performance management

This workshop was used as part of a wider training course focused on the development of core management competencies.

Participants were first asked to build models describing the identity of their nightmare supervisor. After sharing and reflection, participants were then asked to build a model of the identity of their perfect supervisor. After sharing, these individual models were negotiated into a shared model that everyone could commit to in their development.

Participants then conducted two building rounds, creating the key competencies which they felt that managers should possess. These models were then placed into a landscape around their shared model, with must have competencies closest, then good to have, and finally nice to have competencies.

The workshop served to improve understanding of the core competencies of good managers, which were then used to inform the wider developmental plan of the new manager.

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When to use
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY

Still not sure whether LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is the right approach for you?

Assess your needs using the three criteria below.

What's the purpose of your workshop?

  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that everyone can contribute their knowledge and opinions on a level playing field.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that the meeting requires honest dialogue and collaborative communication.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that no single participant dominates at the expense of others, for example, by pursuing a personal agenda.

What's the subject of your workshop?

  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that the subject is complex and multifaceted, and there are no clear answers.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that there is a need to grasp the big picture, see connections, explore various options and solutions.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�that the participants are diverse in age, professional expertise, or organisational status.

What are the desired results of your workshop?

  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�to make decisions that everyone can commit to and will honour, even if they do not 100% agree with everything.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�to stop excuses or lack of action after the workshop because participants had no voice or weren’t involved in the decision.
  • Use LEGO SERIOUS PLAY if it’s importantA�to give all participants a common understanding and frame of reference that will impact their work together after the meeting.

Have more questions or want to talk through your ideas?

Find out more

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Certified Facilitator of LEGOA� SERIOUS PLAYA� Method & Materials