How a toy became a business tool

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How I built a tool for clear communication with Lego

While I’m not the first one to mix Lego with business, as Lego ‘serious play’ has been doing since 1996, I thought I’d share my process of creating this Lego tool, because the evaluative and creative mindset involved could be useful to other businesspeople.

I bought a Lego bookshop as part of the Lego creator’s series as I saw it in a client’s house and thought I’d enjoy making it- it was an expensive present to myself. I didn’t realise it would teach me quite a few lessons and that I would be able to use it for work. During the first couple of weeks of lockdown, I took satisfaction in making the model slowly, which triggered some creative thinking…. I was inspired by the fact that it easily comes apart into distinct elements, i.e. the floors of the buildings come apart. I love its simplicity and how clearly you can see its individual parts.

Playing with my kids Lego and building it into common housing elements, I created a series of typical 1930s semi-detached houses, that are easy to connect and separate using the techniques I’d learnt from the bookshop set, with extensions and roofs that are easy to take apart. Initially I showed the first set to a client online, demonstrating roof forms, which was well received and easy to understand over video. So, I built more models, of 2 storey extensions and single storey extensions… These models effortlessly demonstrate the requirements and consequences of having different types of extensions and roofs. As the essence of architecture is clearly conveying ideas to clients, these models should be invaluable.

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