Building a Better Business Using the LEGOŽ SERIOUS PLAYŽ Method is a fascinating account that details the evolution of an intervention intended to help a mega-sized toy maker unlock human potential within its own organization. Performance improvement and strategic planning professionals will appreciate the authors' keen attention to insights gained and full disclosure of lessons learned.
Authors Per Kristiansen and Robert Rasmussen were instrumental in developing the LEGOŽ SERIOUS PLAYŽ (LSP) method when it began as a research idea inside the LEGO corporation in 1996, managed it when it was owned by the independent company Executive Discovery as well as when it returned to The LEGO Group as a business unit.
Kristiansen and Rasmussen also developed and delivered the first facilitator training programs for the LSP method which has been used as a thinking, communication, and problem solving technique for a variety of organization types since 2001. Since that time, the technique has been used globally by governments and municipalities, service organizations, financial institutions, start-ups, the manufacturing industry, and many others. Kristiansen and Rasmussen continue to train and certify facilitators in LSP around the world today.
At its core, LSP is a facilitated process in which participants use LEGO bricks to build and ascribe meaning to three-dimensional models. This method is based in part on learning theories (namely constructivism and constructionism) which suggests that a hands-on experience produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities. This results in participants being able to communicate more effectively, engage their imaginations more readily, and to approach their work with increased confidence, commitment and insight.
With accounts that span from LEGO company headquarters in Denmark to the Imagination Lab in Lausanne, Switzerland where researchers Bart Victor and Johan Roos first piloted and documented the LSP process, to Rasmussen's farmhouse in Connecticut where much research and education took place, the successes and trials of LSP are laid bare for examination and reflection and most of all, learning.
In addition to 18 different case studies and other examples of practical applications, Kristiansen and Rasmussen also tackle some of the most common misconceptions about LSP and make clear that despite its widespread applications, LEGO does not attribute its successful financial turn-around in the mid-2000's to LSP.
Building a Better Business Using the LEGOŽ Serious PlayŽ Method is not a how-to book. Rather, it provides clear, well organized information about the key concepts and applications of LSP and the scientific principles upon which it is based. For example, one chapter details specific neuroscience concepts and describes how LSP activates attention density, encourages semantic processing, and supports long-term memory recall.
This is a remarkable business history book. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY was not conceptualized by product strategists or developed by LEGO to reach a new market segment; it was merely an idea for internal use. Only when the company saw its potential did it evolve and begin to transform. Today, LSP is an open-source process used by a diverse group of trained and certified facilitators all over the world on several continents. Its universal applications are used effectively in many different cultures and languages.