Teambuilding isn’t often associated with playing with toys. Most of the time, teambuilding exercises involve lengthy lectures, complicated activities, and awkward conversations. It’s difficult to cultivate sincere, beneficial discussions between coworkers, but it’s an important part of fostering a good group culture.
To break down some of those uncomfortable barriers, LEGO® unveiled its SERIOUS PLAY® methodology, a teambuilding exercise that uses a mountain of LEGO bricks to create meaningful dialogue between coworkers. The LEGO company has always prioritized creative personal growth using their products, and with the SERIOUS PLAY model, those goals are catered toward adults in the boardroom instead of kids in the playroom.
Playing with LEGO bricks on company time sounds intriguing, but how does it produce results? Why is it different than any other teambuilding? It might sound strange that a toy company developed a method for unlocking innovation within the workplace, but the SERIOUS PLAY strategy is no joke. The method was developed over a 12-year period based on research that suggests hands-on activities produce better communication and open dialogue.
The workshop starts with a group of eight to 14 people sitting down together at a table completely covered in LEGO bricks. From there, the certified moderator instructs the team to build structures. The team’s creations lead to relaxed yet sincere conversations. The creations are innocent at the start, such as a “meaningless” tower, but as the session goes on, participants are asked to put more thought into the things they build.
Even if you didn’t have LEGO products as a child, it’s hard to resist them when they’re right in front of you, waiting to be built. With some imagination, even just a few LEGO bricks become basically anything, from a plane to a car or a boat. During LEGO Serious Play, there are hundreds, even thousands, of LEGO bricks spread out on a table. When the instructor starts the session, participants are eager to get started building whatever creation comes to mind within the guidelines.
Everyone learns and communicates in different ways, which can be an asset on a team. Constructing models allows everyone — from the most outgoing to the shiest — a chance to engage with one another.
Through years of research, developers found that building and then discussing something leads to much more valuable dialogue between teammates. When people are being creative, their brains are in a much different setting than they would be in a meeting or behind a desk. During a SERIOUS PLAY session, managers and employees alike are all completely equal, and they must build and place their ideas directly on the table for all to see.
In the modern workplace, it’s common for employees and managers alike to keep their issues or problems to themselves for the sake of keeping the office amicable. This can lead to strife building up under the surface, which, in the end, makes things harder for everyone involved, including the customer. A session of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY allows these issues to be dredged up and worked through in a healthy, honest way.
Some teams come to these workshops to work through problems that won’t go away within their group. The SERIOUS PLAY model is good for easing tension between coworkers and allowing them to see things from a different perspective. It’s also a great exercise for teams with no issues who simply want to better themselves and others. The SERIOUS PLAY method is all about people expressing themselves and listening to one another.
Rose State College’s Innovation Station in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City has all the tools and resources for your team to participate in a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop, as well as space for any other meetings or events you need to plan. Innovation Station is the only place in the Oklahoma City area to facilitate SERIOUS PLAY sessions. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help your team grow.