Why Use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® For Strategy Development?

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Strategy Development is one of the core applications of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. The approach is called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Real Time Strategy. This method is a proven creative and effective way for organizations and companies to develop, refine or rethink their strategy, in ways that are different from traditional strategic planning.

All LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) processes are designed to be used in groups and focus on a relatively small number of powerful core concepts. These conceptual modules can be configured to fit the needs of your company or organization.

You can read a general introduction to the effectiveness of the LSP method here. Or, you can find out how you can strengthen your team through LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® here.


How does LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and strategy fit together?

When you apply LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Strategy Development, all strategic scenarios and considerations are built into a comprehensive physical landscape that consists of LEGO® bricks. The landscape becomes vivid via story making, story telling and the use of strong metaphors that create a common in-depth understanding of the strategic possibilities and challenges that the company or organization is facing. This makes it possible to visualize strategic challenges and extract concrete focus areas and solutions. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Real Time Strategy, thereby, focuses on what is relevant now, and the impact that these focus points may have in the future.


“Thinking with your hands”

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is built upon the concept of “thinking with your hands.” Building and playing with your hands is an effective way to stimulate the different kinds of intelligence and imagination. This expands the space wherein definitions and solutions of problems are discovered. When ideas are stuck in your brain, using your hands will help you get them out.

A “dialogue” between your brain and your hands enhances creativity, overview and knowledge building. It is a well-documented fact that learning goes deeper and faster when you include your hands in the process. Exploring scenarios by building and analyzing a landscape, furthermore, makes it possible to take risks without worrying about the consequences. All in all, LSP Real Time Strategy is an imaginative, effective and responsible way to develop a strong and shared strategy for your company or organization.


What do our clients say about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Strategy Development?

“On top of the powerful involvement and great level of ownership that was anchored in the management group, the LSP tool also managed to create the basis for a strong presentation at the leadership workshop. To this day, I still have our company vision on my desk in my office, built in LEGO®”

Claus Metzsch Jensen – CEO, Eltel Networks Denmark.


The content of a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® strategy workshop

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® can be applied to a variety of development processes e.g. strategy, organizational development, team development, conflict resolution, etc. Below we focus solely on the method’s usage in a strategic context.

Two LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for strategy development workshops are never completely alike. There are, however, some  key elements involved in any LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® strategy workshop:


1. Building skills for the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology

This step helps participants get acquainted with the methodology. We work with the basic LSP elements such as construction, metaphors, storytelling and imagination. This is done through building exercises aiming at getting the participants into a state of “flow”. Flow is a state where participants are fully immersed, engaged and in a zone of optimal learning.


2. Constructing the organizational identity

The identity part is played out in three types of identity constructions: core, aspirational and external.

The core identity:

The core identity is defined as the way each participant see the essence of the organization or company. It includes the emotional, cultural and psychological elements in addition to more obvious ones, like its structure. It relates to the value proposition of the organization or company and answers the questions: “why are we here?” and “what makes us unique?”

The aspirational identity:

The aspirational identity is an illustration of the organization when it is at its best. It exemplifies what the organization will look like when it has become what its leaders want it to become.

The external identity:

The external identity reflects how the participants believe the external world perceives the organization or company regarding both its strengths and weaknesses.

Each participant constructs a model and express their personal views on the different parts of the organizational identity. Subsequently, these specific models serve as the basis for designing the shared identity of the organization or company.


3. Visualizing the business landscape

To develop the right strategy, it is important to become aware of the significant changes in the business landscape surrounding the company or organization. In this part of the workshop, the participants visualize this complex landscape. “Agents” are defined as factors, that can have a direct or indirect impact on the organization or company in either a negative or a positive sense. Agents can be both obvious, like a major customer or partner, but also subtle, physical or psychological in nature. By building agents and placing them within the landscape, the participants jointly construct a shared understanding of the business landscape.


4. Heeding connections in the landscape

In this part of the workshop, the participants are asked to focus on the dynamic structure of the business landscape and consider the type, location, nature and character of these network connections. The connections are built in LEGO® and made viable through story telling and metaphors. All elements in the landscape can be connected.

This part of the process enables the participants to pay attention to and care about the most important interactions that influence the success of the organization, which become an integral part of the Real Time Strategy.


5. Playing out emergences in the landscape

Sudden changes either for good or for bad is a natural consequence in any complex system like a business landscape. Changes of this kind is called “emergences,” and they occur when the agents of the landscape interact, or the organizational identity develops. A small change can make a big difference. It is difficult to predict these changes, but by playing out possible changes and scenarios, we prepare the participants to constructively deal with both expected and unexpected changes.

The way changes influence the landscape is then analyzed, and the effects and consequences of this analysis are outlined. Based on the analysis, possible actions are highlighted and decided upon.


6. Articulating Simple Guiding Principles

This part of the process helps participants identify a few simple principles that can guide their decisions, actions and behavior as they implement their strategy. These principles are neither rules or instructions, but headlines of rich narratives on how to decide what to focus on and how to act. The principles arise from the collective dialogue among the participants, and are based on the shared values and identity as well as common aspirations.

Simple Guiding Principles cannot be directly transferred from one team to another, as well as from one organization or company to another, as they consist of a few clear, complete and organization-specific principles.

Simple Guiding Principles enclose, in their condensed and simplified form, all the experience, knowledge and wisdom that the participants as a team can offer their organization or company. Simple Guiding Principles help make decisions, especially when unexpected changes arise.


7. Communicating the strategy

The original intention behind LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Strategy Development is to be able to constantly use an updated landscape to play out scenarios, and, thereby, find the needed solutions to strategic questions and challenges. However, most organizations and companies would like to have a strategy on paper to be able to share and scale the insights. In this concluding part of the workshop, the participants elaborate on the comprehensive LSP analysis that they have constructed and discussed. We help them summarize important descriptions, insights and develop a concrete action plan. Strategy Mapping or other relevant tools can be used for this part of the workshop.

What to do next?

If you would like to try out the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Strategy Development in your own company or organization please contact us for further information via email or over the phone: +45 70222664).

You can also read more about our work with the method here.

We cooperate with LEGOLAND® Resorts around the world, making it possible to host your strategy session in the perfect LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® location.