There’s a current trend toward visual thinking. Show AND tell. Not just telling people our ideas, but also using visuals to show people our ideas. The problem is that most people feel horribly uncomfortable when they are asked to draw.
But put some lego out and watch them go. Most people are very happy using lego to bring their ideas to life…..
Legoland is my favourite tool from The Creativity Toolkit, so I was absolutely stoked when I had the opportunity to run a lego workshop with my client last week. My team – Business Systems – were holding their planning day, to set goals for the next six months and the individual action plans to achieve these. We started out reviewing our achievements over the past six months, using lego to kickstart our thinking, before launching into our vision for the next six months.
Legoland is one of the “explorer” tools from The Creativity Toolkit, which is used to explore issues around a business challenge. It’s an incredibly versatile facilitation tool for workshops and can be used in any situation. It gives everyone a voice, especially when every person in the room will have a different opinion. And it requires participants to be concise, as they can only explore two or three key messages.
The facilitator sets a building challenge with a time constraint. The team use lego bricks and mini figures to build a model which represents their perspective on the building challenge. They use post its to capture the key messages conveyed in their model. Then it’s Show and Tell where everyone takes a turn to tell the story about their model and share the key messages.
The lego workshop takes just over an hour to complete, using the following building challenges:
Warm up #1 (60 seconds): Build the tallest tower that you can, but it must be self-supporting. To get people started with building and describing their models.
Warm up #2 (30 seconds): Select a mini-figure to represent yourself. Change the clothes/hat/hair if you want to. To help people to identify with their lego models.
Warm up #3 (3 minutes): What does your ideal personal work space look like? To get people used to sharing what is important to them.
Challenge #1 (3 minutes): What do you enjoy about working in our team? To find out what is going well.
Challenge #2 (3 minutes): Why is our team important to the project? To identify how our deliverables fit into the wider project.
Challenge #3 (3 minutes): What would our customers like us to do differently? To identify our areas for improvement.
Challenge #4 (3 minutes): What is the biggest challenge that you face in your role? To identify the areas where we need support.
Make sure that people describe their models during the Show and Tell, rather than simply reading the key messages from their post its. A reminder to “tell us about your model” will do the trick.
Make sure that people listen during the Show and Tell. You may find that people want to use this time to try to perfect their models. But it is more important to stop and listen to what their team members were sharing.
In the client workshop, this model came out of the “biggest challenge that you face in your role” round. Ingrid built the model with herself as the mini-figure looking over the wall. Ingrid will be the new Business Process Champion when I finish the assignment in six weeks time. The wall represents the whopping great learning hurdle that she must overcome, as we work through six weeks of coaching.
At the end of the coaching, Hermione (of Harry Potter fame) will drive away on her red vespa. With cape and broom, Hermione has been specially chosen to represent me. Why??? Because our manager, a Structural Engineer, has a unique take on BAs. Given that business analysis isn’t based on physics or applied maths, he considers it to be witchcraft.