LEGO® Serious Play®

LSP Methodology

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology is an innovative process designed to enhance innovation and business performance. Based on research which shows that this kind of hands-on, minds-on learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization or team.

LSP uses metaphor applied to physical (lego) constructs to describe and communicate complex issues, ideas or concepts. These can be built individually to enable understanding of different perspective and/or built collective through negotiation to enable shared understanding. It can also be used to articulate priorities, influencing factors, systems, connectivity, strength and integrity of links and more.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” – Plato

Creating a shared understanding of Knowledge Mobilisation

Our facilitator for this Lego session is a certified LSP facilitator, Matt Dexter from Lab4Living. The session started off with a few ‘warm-up’ activities getting participants building and using the lego followed by further activities designed to get participants used to the idea of using the Lego as metaphor explain complex ideas and concepts. The activities were structured as follows:

  • with each participant given a specific lego kit, build a tower out of only green and orange components
  • each participant explains to the group why you built your tower as you did
  • now build one of the very simple structures out of a specific manual
  • each participants explains to the group why they chose that structure to build
  • now modify the structure from the previous step to reflect some element of your job that you enjoy
  • each participant  uses the model to describe this part of their job that they enjoy
  • starting from scratch and using the full lego kit, build a model that you would use to describe the concept of ‘knowledge’ to a 9 year old
  • each participant uses their model to describe this to the group
  • starting from scratch and using the full lego kit, build a model that describes your own understanding of ‘knowledge mobilisation’
  • each participant uses their model to describe your understanding of knowledge mobilisation
  • each participant is given a small red brick and have to place it on one aspect of their model that was non-negotiable – the one priority element of their understanding of knowledge mobilisation that was at the heart of its meaning
  • each participant then described what this element was to the other participants
  • the participants then had to negotiate and combine each of the ‘red brick’ aspects of their individual interpretations of knowledge mobilisation into one shared understanding – this had to contain a representation of each individual red-brick component and all participants had to agree on the ‘story’ of how these different ‘red brick’ components were combined
  • each participant then told the ‘story’ and went on until the story was consistent across all participants.

The shared understanding of knowledge mobilisation

The underpinning description applied to this Lego metaphor of knowledge mobilisation is as follows – Knowledge Mobilisation (KMb) happens:

  • because of, and between, people
  • it involves thoughts and feelings / hearts and minds
  • it is open and multi-directional (there is transmission and reception)
  • it benefits from diversity (of people, tools and approaches)
  • it inherently creates new knowledge (within individuals and organisations) and adapts/evolves knowledge as it is assimilated into an individual and/or a context
  • for individuals there is a inward and outwards focus (inward to understand what one currently knows and doesn’t, outward to understand what other people know and don’t and how these may fit with what is internal)
  • it happens on the edges, between disciplines, between units/teams/organisations – in the coffee breaks, conversations in the corridor or on the train
  • it can be both intentional or unintentional
  • it is about engagement (both a push and a pull)
  • it happens in a physical space and physical spaces can be greatly more or less conducive to KMb
  • there is both BIG KMb (purposeful, planned, strategic) and little kmb (everyday learning, opportunistic, unintentional)

The workshop then moved on to the other components – case study presentations, theory and discussions. Finally, at the very end of the workshop the participants re-visited the lego and repeated the steps relevant to defining a model of knowledge mobilisation, starting from scratch to see whether the content and discussions of the workshop and altered anyone thinking in anyway.

Re-visiting the shared understanding of Knowledge Mobilisation

At the end of the two days, the workshop participants came back to the Lego table to repeat the process and see wether their individual and share understandings of Knowledge Mobilisation had changed in anyway.

Lab4Living, Sheffield Hallam University,
Furnival Building, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU
Phone 0114 225 6753 | Fax 0114 225 6931