Lego Serious Play, the Lego House and creativity

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

Lego is not just a toy as it can also be used as a design thinking tool. Lego Serious Play – born from the Lego company’s search for ways to get businesses using Lego – helps organisations to get creative and innovate.

In the article Using Lego Serious Play as a Design Thinking Tool by Designorate.com, it describes how “Design thinking is a complex process which combines both logical thinking and creative imagination in order to build innovative products and services.” A range of tools can be used to help the design thinking process such as “issue cards, group sketching, role play, design games and Lego Serious Play.” By playing with colourful bricks, teams can share ideas and problem solve together. “Visualizing the ideas into a model eliminates the fear of failure as it is treated with a prototype that can be modified during the design thinking process.” With fear of failure being a huge roadblock for many people – not just in the creative world – tools that can help move things forward are invaluable.

This open style collaborative approach to design thinking allows everyone to contribute and share ideas. The idea of using play as an approach creatively learning is something that Mitch Reznik, a professor of learning research at MIT Media Lab addresses in the documentary Lego House: Home of the Brick. “When I think about play, I don’t see it as just fun and games, but rather I see play as a type of, a way of engaging with the world.” He suggests that by giving children the opportunity to explore through playing and creating, “they’ll be prepared for a world which is going to require creative thinking more than ever before.”

“Where you’re willing to take risks, to try new things and the greatest learning, the greatest innovations come when people are doing things in a playful spirit. It might be building a sandcastle or a Lego castle or building a poem – whatever they’re creating is a way for them to create new ideas. So there’s this constant cycle between children building things in the world to build new ideas, to let them build things in the world. That cycle provides the basis for the best learning experiences.” – Mitch Reznik

Additional content: For a deeper dive into in the Lego brand, The Toys That Made Us (2018) S2 E3: Lego revisits the journey from wooden toys to the present day brick system. For more on the architect who designed the Lego House, Abstract: The Art of Design (2017) S1 E4 – Bjarke Ingels: Architecture shows more of his innovative architecture and design process: “In the big picture, architecture is the art and science of creating the framework of our lives.” And “He never follows the rules.”