As a child, Lego® was one of my favourite toys, and nowadays it surely is in first place when I think about fun and play. Once I started working with teams, I discovered that Lego® can be the best tool for learning and communication. In the last few years, I have done great experiments using Lego® to help people communicate: spanning from introductions to feedback, through goal setting and developing shared visions. Lego easily brings everyone to the same page. And.. guess what?! People love it! It’s fun and sparks our inner creative child. Suddenly, we see the world full of opportunities, unblocking a lot of the fears and barriers we have when it comes to sharing our ideas. Lego® Advert Memorable Metaphors A brick is just a brick Every child understands that the power of a brick is much more than just building the highest tower or a house for minifigures. Children see the great opportunity to look beyond, and imagine whole stories out of simple bricks stacked on top of each other. The dinosaur is part of a Lego® advertisement series, and cleverly illustrates this potential for imagination. We can dig a little deeper and find a reference to a movie, like Toy Story, or the dinosaur can represent a legacy system that will go extinct or a danger that is threatening us. You name it ;) The beauty of it is that these metaphors become physical. A complex thought is now represented out of your head, in a model for everyone to experience and understand as their own, making it easier to remember, link, transform and share. This all comes together in Lego® Serious Play®. For several years now, Lego® also saw the potential that their bricks have for communication in training rooms and learning processes. Lego® Serious Play® is a methodology aimed at taking maximum advantage of facilitation techniques by bringing Lego® bricks together. It started as a closed network of facilitators, but now the methodology is Open Source, under Creative Commons principles. Benefits of Lego® Serious Play® Everyone is involved One of the greatest feedbacks I get, from all the sessions I have done with Lego®, is that everyone gets deeply involved in the process and contributes much more than they usually would. Participants tend to achieve a state of flow and play, that makes them really want to talk about what they have just built: sharing their stories, visions and ideas. Another great benefit of Lego® Serious Play® is that it also enhances the capabilities of listening, and the reason seems simple: we are curious minds, built to make sense of the world around us. This keeps us constantly wondering what the others are building, with a genuine curiosity that just isn't applicable to abstract ideas. what does your giraffe with a pair of wheels and a red flag mean? Unconscious building It might not feel natural at first, putting Lego® pieces together with the challenge of sharing an idea, and that’s what I love about it, it is an awesome sign of creativity! It means you’re accessing new and different information in your mind, setting yourself free from your usual thinking patterns. Sometimes ideas and feelings will only surface after building the model, just by looking at it or while explaining it. Shared understanding Some of you might have been in brainstorming sessions, SWOT analysis, retrospectives which resulted in a wall full of post-its™: sometimes hard to organise and manage. The result of a Lego® Serious Play® session is already in a format that people understand and that was built together in an iterative way: It’s incredible how much people can remember about the meaning and ideias of the model even several months after it was built. Can I play as well? Playing with legos is intuitive and once you start, it will be hard to stop. Try it out! Find a facilitator, or just use your old childhood legos! Allow your team to have fun while reaching ideas and conclusions you’ve never discovered before. Some simple examples you might want to try on your next team meeting: “Build a model… … that shows the most important strength/weakness of our team.” … to tell us something you never told about yourself to the team.” … that represents the most important goal you have ate the moment.”