Getting Serious with Lego

3 October 2019

Lego Serious Play can be a great part of a trainer’s toolkit when it comes to helping participants understand complex issues. Like our own MTa experiential learning kits, it’s very hands-on, but while MTa focuses on behaviours, LSP is more of a communication tool. 

For those not familiar with Lego Serious Play, it’s basically Lego, but not quite as you know it. It unleashes exactly the same creativity that conventional Lego has since its plastic bricks built their way into our world of play in 1947. But LSP is about representing the more serious challenges we face as adults, in the world of work and in our personal development. 

LSP’s methodology allows users to bring ideas to life in a three-dimensional way by, literally, building them. They can test out different scenarios and share ideas, with everyone getting an equal say before agreeing on a shared model or identity. 

As well as the famous Lego figures we all know and love, LSP boasts a lot of custom-built pieces that focus on things like relationships and roles so those playing with it can build models of their own complex worlds.

Think with your hands 

LSP sets people free to “think with their hands” and build models of what their future organization or strategy could look like with real moving pieces that can break apart of fall down. It’s a great metaphor for what we might be trying to say when words and pictures aren’t enough: it allows us to tell stories using models we create. 

It’s great for brainstorming and provides a much richer experience than a typical flip chart exercise. Everyone gets to build their own model so they get equal “air time” to 

The shear flexibility of Lego means it can be used in so many different ways. 

Many successful trainers are using LSP to help share ideas, but are also using kits from MTa to help people understand their behaviour. We’ve already explored some of the great ways you can use MTa and LSP together and how you can also use LSP as a tool to reflect on what has happened in an MTa activity. 

Saif Saif Rahman  Head of Training at Nesma and Partners in Abu Dhabi uses LSP with small groups to help design employee onboarding and experience programmes. He says it’s good for allowing people to explore a process and gives participants freedom for participants to ideate and be creative

And Mat East, Managing Director at Sparks International in Dubai has used both LSP and MTta learning kits with clients in training and coaching situations. He says LSP is good for helping clients with Design Thinking, communication, team-building, creating values and mission statements.

Team building

Some have also used LSP for team exercises as well. East says he’s used it with small teams in a larger group of 50 people so that people work together to build a model. 

“But then you really need a good facilitator: someone who’s ready to find out who’s not so involved, and get them to be more vocal, get them to step and describe the model.” 

Indeed, he warns that good facilitation is essential when working with LSP. 

“It’s not a case of just buying some Lego and letting everyone get on with it,” warns East. “I’ve seen some very inappropriate use due to inexperienced facilitators, and if it isn’t used properly, [the trainees] will think it’s a waste of time.”

But for richer team learning, when you’re focusing on behaviours, LSP isn’t the right part of your toolkit. It allows everyone to regress slightly and express themselves, but it isn’t designed for exploring what happens when people work together and things get messy. For that, you need something from the MTa toolkit! 

By Jamie Thompson, Managing Director of MTa Learning

MTa are experts in the field of experiential learning since 1982. We provide kits of experiential learning activities which are carefully designed. Our activities are fun, engaging and memorable – but effective too.

We also deliver MTa Facilitator Masterclasses for those Learning & Development professionals who want to ensure they capitalise on their investment in experiential learning.

Leading organisations around the world trust MTa with their Learning and Development requirements.  If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.