LEGO Serious Play: What I learned by playing with Lego as a 20-year-old

Last month, Henley Careers held their first Success Studio workshop of 2020, titled ‘LEGO: Build Your Extraordinary Life!’ I expected to sit in a room with fellow adults and play with Lego…and I was not mistaken! What I did not expect though, was to learn so much about myself. 

The group consisted of a nice, modest size of eleven, and we began the ‘serious play’ with a challenge to each build a tower in one minute. We each had the same number of bricks, and no other objective. What we found after the warm up, was that everyone interpreted the brief in so many different ways. Some of us (myself included), attempted to just make the tallest tower possible, while others tried to start with a sturdy, wide base. One student built a man-shaped tower, complete with legs and feet! What we ultimately discovered is that each of us had a different approach to the exact same brief. I learned to not compare my tower to others’, because mine was unique, and so was theirs. We went around the table talking about our creations, and everyone explained how they approached the activity in their own way. The next activity was to build our own renditions of the concept of the future, which is a bit of a leap from the warm up ‘tower’. Ultimately again, we each of us had very different interpretations of the brief, with some people understanding the future to be about personal growth, while others built an example of positive climate repair. We spoke again about our creations, and we realised what such a broad concept such as the future can mean to others.

What came next was what I found most interesting about the workshop. We were given the task of building, this time with an (almost) unlimited number of bricks, our ‘goals’. Again, this was interpreted in a numerous amount of ways. The important part I learned was not to worry about what ‘goals’ should be interpreted as, but whatIinterpreted them as. I split my build into a few different components, outlining my personal goals, my learning goals and my career aspirations. Some others in the group did something similar, while others took to the task with a full image in mind of one aspect of their life. It was lovely to see everyone’s passion for their own aspirations and growth put into small Lego versions, and it was also humbling too. Next, our task was to alter the build slightly to represent where we currently see ourselves in relation to these goals, which was fascinating to discover. Though these goals I had put out seemed initially to be so daunting and far away, I realised that I am already on my way to achieving them. I noticed I already practice skills that I want to master, and my head is in the right space for getting a kickstart on my career aspirations, too. One student noted how interesting it was to see what each of us prioritised in terms of our goals, because of the slight time restriction. This helped us to see what we really seemed to care about achieving the most.

The final task was to use the Lego bricks to visualise an action plan to achieve the goals we had previously explored. This, interestingly enough, is where people’s builds became the most similar in concept. Most people built desks, schools, or bookshelves to represent the importance of education in achieving certain dreams, and I found that very insightful. Others built planes or roads to signify the importance of travel, or more loosely, branching out to find other like-minded people. I was greatly interested in how we came together to agree that education, perseverance and reaching out of our comfort zones was the best way to achieve our long-term goals.

As a very visual and kinetic person, I found it really helpful to represent my thoughts in such a tangible medium as Lego. In a sense, it showed me that my goals are not too out of reach, and I implore you to try doing the same to discover what you can learn about yourself.

By Helena Smagala, part of the Henley Digital Student Engagement Team

One Comment Add yours

  1. Fantastic news! And look at those massive Lego serious play Glasgow  Lego structures. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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