A while ago during a Lego Serious Play demo someone asked me: “What is the magic behind Lego Serious Play?”.
It’s a good question and over the coming week or so I am going to try to explain it in a series of short articles dealing with specific aspects of this “magic”.
The Magic of Lego Serious Play 1) «Trust the bricks. The answer is there!”
I know it sounds strange. Perhaps even a little esoteric – perhaps even “Jedi-like”. It is however true. Let me explain.
One of the phrases a Lego Serious Play facilitator uses a lot is “don’t have a meeting with yourself – build!”. Normally when asked a question that requires some degree of reflection we stop, think and then respond verbally. The process repeats itself thousands of time throughout each day. Sometimes we think more, sometimes we think less but the process is natural and so frequent that we almost always tap into our brains via the same route. That means that the possibility of theanswer being conditioned by a specific way of thinking is very high.
With Lego Serious Play we stop this traditional way of thinking and we make participants touch the bricks to find the answer. Our brains of course keep thinking. It would be impossible to turn off that process. However, when that thought process is combined with looking at and touching Lego bricks of different colours, shapes and sizes (bricks that have been specially chosen so we can easily converted them into metaphors), the bricks themselves inspire thoughts and answers. You see brick in front of you, you touch it, you try to link it to the question, you combine it with more and more bricks and before you know it, you have used your hands and your brain together to build the answer in a model. In doing this you are drawing on a different part of your brain – a more creative and visual side. This can be the difference between a normal idea and a brilliant idea. It can be the difference between a conditioned and rehearsed personal reflection and one that is more honest and free of judgement.
It doesn’t stop there. After building, when participants tell their story and describe the model, the process continues. Talking about the bricks and the model is like going over your thoughts again and almost always participants find new meaning to what they have built and adapt their story. Bricks that at first had no meaning take one on now and others change from one idea to another. All this because the brain is still being inspired visually (and now enhanced because we are in story telling mode – another part of the magic).
It doesn’t stop there. When others ask questions about a model and what they see, this provokes another round of reflection in the person who built it and many participants end up finding new meanings and metaphors. Many make changes to their models at this stage.
To clarify -we don’t use Lego bricks or Lego Serious Play to analyse how people think. It is an incredibly visual and creative way of provoking alternative thought and as a result it yields different answers.
Without a doubt, part of its magic lies in trusting the bricks”.
www.considiom.com , Madrid.