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Bringing Play to Work

The term 'work' may not naturally bring in the concept of play. Play is at times seen a frivolous and not perceived as the norm in the corporate world, however, studies have shown the benefits of bringing fun through play at the place of work.

A fantastic quote about play can be credited to Einstein (1879 – 1955) a brilliant German-born scientist of the modern age who ironically said “Play is the highest form of research.”

We hear of many companies creating chill-out zones, break spaces and hangout spots for their employees. Play can serve a purpose by drawing in on elements of fantasy and creative imagination by pretending, focusing attention to a role or setting which eventually gives us a natural therapeutic experience through our voluntary or unconscious intentions.

The concept LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) is simply using LEGO® bricks to ‘build’ strategic ideas such as identity, envision, and explore new solutions or alternatives by allowing participants to think using their hands. Various companies including the big 4, MasterCard, UniCredit, Google, and many more have used the concept of LEGO® Serious Play® over the last 15 years since its inception. LEGO® Serious Play ® is a facilitated workshop where participants respond to tasks by building symbolic and metaphorical models with LEGO bricks and present them to the other participants. When used correctly LSP is a very powerful tool intended to enhance innovation, business performance or problem-solving.

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® breaks the 20/80 meeting dynamics (20 per cent of the participants, possibly most senior member or meeting host, take 80 per cent of the time) and creates a meeting where everybody is leaning in and contributing. Once this happens, participants unlock their full potential and this method finally breaks the habitual thinking and unearths new and surprising insights. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® gives a hand to the head allowing a 100/100 meeting, conversations where 100% of attendees are contributing their full potential – 100% of what they have to offer.

LSP helps people to see things differently, discovering new connections and insights that produce a more innovative and creative outcome. It also helps participants to co-creating the solutions. Not only is the quality of that outcome better, however, they also feel greater ownership of it. Empowering them and resulting in a more successful implementation. Therefore, LSP helps individuals and teams to think, communicate, problem solve and make decisions in a different, more creative way.

Plato (c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) a Greek philosopher once said “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation”

During a session, participants create models to represent ideas or visions using special LEGO® bricks, metaphors and storytelling. Everybody builds, everybody tells a story. Participants truly enjoy the fact that they can express themselves and that they are listened to. Therefore, the LEGO® model is as important as the story being told. An ideal session would involve 6 people and would last 3.5 hours. But the method can work for groups as small as 2 and can scale up to 100s. The minimum length of time for a productive session is 2 hours, all the way up to 2-day sessions.

The core LSP process is based on four essential steps. The facilitator first poses a challenge allowing participants time to build their answers to the challenge using LEGO® bricks. Once they complete their build the participants are allowed a minute to share their answers with the other participants. Finally, the participants reflect on what they have seen and heard, eventually leading to a ‘build’ of strategic ideas such as identity, vision, or exploring new solutions or alternatives. All sessions are unique and no session is like another. Through the LSP method participants are allowed to dive deeper and quickly gain access to often surprising insights while eliciting everyone’s best thinking.

As a trained facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method and materials, I support companies in Malta by also providing workshops that facilitate participants’ engagement and development. Below are just a few ideas for workshops using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® materials and methodology:

  • a taster of the LSP experience;

  • improve team dynamics;

  • identify a vision of team life;

  • draw up the customer user experience;

  • identify what blocks innovation at work and to develop key actions on how to improve innovation at work;

  • or as part of wider Leadership and Management Development Programmes.

You can find out more about LSP offer by reaching out via email to or call +356 79050478.



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