Using Lego as a Design Thinking Artefact
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
USING LEGO AS A DESIGN THINKING ARTEFACT ENHANCING THE EXPERIENCE AND OUTPUTS FROM COLLABORATION AND CO-CREATION! HOW IS IT THAT A CHILD’S TOY, HAS BECOME A SERIOUS STRATEGY TOOL USED BY SOME OF THE WORLDS BEST KNOWN ORGANISATIONS?
‘Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.’ That means we can all step into the world of design and be designers: designers of change, of an experience, of a solution that responds to a defined business challenge, opportunity or need. One of the key principles of design thinking is Empathy – empathising with humans, end-users, customers – to explore and understand a problem and opportunity, and then generate ideas defining possible solutions. Lego bricks can be used as a plat toy to contribute to design thinking inside a large organisations through the Lego Serious Playtoolkit, but also when being used as physical artefacts in design thinking co-creative workshops aiming at delivering a high level physical prototype.
Design thinking is a process which combines both logical thinking and creative imagination in order to build innovative products and services – it is then a natural match with Lego. Lego bricks have been part of the childhood of many people and many adults often enjoy playing with it. It has been a long time since the first time I used Lego in a design thinking workshop to either represent customer figures, demonstrate an ‘as is’ experience or help multidisciplinary teams build together a possible solution – a kiosk, an on-boarding session, a customer support centre. Lego can help to tell the story to project stakeholders and also co-create something tangible with a project team.
Recently I had a chance to facilitate a co-creative workshop in Fidelity’s office in Dublin. The goal was to design a concept for a client experience space/room. Rather than having two teams draw concepts on the flip-charts or canvas, I asked participants to build a concept using Lego bricks and figures and then walk a representative end-user through their ideas. This visual 4D presentation contributes to understanding of ideas and modifies it during the storytelling process. The fear of failure was diminished as the prototype can be modified at any time. While the lego bricks create a 3D prototype, moving Lego figures representing end-users ads a time-dimension. The ultimate goal was to have two physical high level prototypes that uncover some common elements and help the teams to identify the features that are most appealing to end-users, thus ultimately creating one shared prototype that could be then taken for further design and estimation.
The Lego Serious Play set
The Lego Serious Play set is one of the tools that implement Lego bricks in the design thinking process to help generating innovative ideas and solutions. Using Lego bricks and characters, the team share ideas within the context of organizational strategy. There is entire website dedicated to how Lego can be used during team meetings to communicate visually through storytelling. The site also provides coaching and training on better meeting facilitation. The Lego method encourages participants to learn and listen to others around them, observe and empathise with both our team mates and ultimately end-users or potential customers. The video below shows how the Lego Serious Play establishes how to building a creative learning environment:
The Lego method encourages participants to learn and listen to others around them, observe and empathise with both our team mates and ultimately end-users or potential customers. The video below shows how the Lego Serious Play establishes how to building a creative learning environment: