In a constantly changing context, it is essential that leadership breaks the conventional thinking pattern. Now more than ever, it is necessary to explore new decision-making processes that create disruptive solutions. For this reason, Nova SBE Executive Education created the LEGO® Serious Play®: Introduction, now in its 5th edition - a training based on extensive research in the areas of management, organizational development, psychology, and teaching, exploring the connection between the hands and the cognitive system.
João Castro, Scientific Coordinator of the program, explained us how the little pieces can help sharpen decision-making in companies and strengthen leadership skills.
What is the reason for integrating LEGO into an executive program?
LEGO® Serious Play® is not a game - it's a working methodology, a facilitation methodology, developed at LEGO® on the initiative of the founders' grandson. At the time, the question was asked: "If LEGO® is so good for children to learn to build, to stimulate creativity, can it not also be used in other areas? So a research project was done with experts from MIT, which then culminated in this LEGO® Serious Play®. This is undoubtedly one of the methodologies that works in facilitating different types of meetings and exploring different opportunities in companies.
LEGO® Serious Play® is, at the outset, a program unlike any other executive training. What is the ultimate goal of the program?
The main objective of this program is to understand why this is a different methodology, why it exists and what it brings, as well as its advantages over any other that companies and executives are already used to using. It is also important to expose them to new techniques, which may seem strange at first, because LEGOS® are toys for children, but can be used in the context of organisations - hence the name "Serious Play".
How can methodologies like this unlock creativity in the workplace? How did the last four editions go?
I think the big advantage that the methodology brings is that, right from the start, the people who sign up already have some curiosity and openness to be surprised, so there is some daring to have different approaches.
Then, when they see the methodology working with the exercises that we do using LEGO®, they understand very quickly the message that is extracted from each of the exercises. It's crystal clear. We can give a two-hour class explaining a concept theoretically, so the participants understand, or we can do an exercise with LEGO®, and in 15 minutes the idea has been learned much more effectively. Usually, people see the potential, the speed with which some messages are passed on, and then they start to wonder in which areas they can apply this methodology in their companies.
For example, the participants may have exactly the same set and number of pieces, with the same colors and shapes, and if we ask them to build an object in two minutes, everyone makes different constructions. Yet everyone had the same pieces, the same briefing, and follows exactly the same instructions, because the result depends on everyone's interpretation of what the object is and is totally independent of who ordered the construction.
Just in an exercise like this, in five minutes, people begin to understand how management can change so that everyone realizes what is intended - and this is tangible, it is right in front of us, seen in practice.
LEGO® also creates a non-threatening way to bring issues to the table and for everyone to contribute in a much richer way to the discussion.