LEGO Building Blocks: A Key to Understanding Business Development



Students in business development and innovation create structures from LEGOs

Master of Arts in Business Innovation

Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Business Innovation Program at the GBSB Global Business School in Barcelona got their creative juices bubbling as they had the exciting opportunity to participate in a LEGO Serious Play Workshop presented by Jordi Castells. A certified LEGO Serious Play facilitator, Castells focused on innovation, business development, marketing, service and product design, incorporating LEGO Serious Play techniques


The LEGO Serious Play facilitator describes how business development can be applied to this creative, hands-on activity

Some would consider it child’s play, but in fact there is a lot to learn about designing business models from colourful LEGO bricks and connective pieces.

Welcomed by LEGO bricks in all shapes and sizes, students were happily engaged, inspired to think creatively and design structures with their hands. Building bricks, once connected to form a building, animal, or object of imagination were meant to demonstrate an important business concept.

During the initial phase of starting a business an idea is procured and stored as either a memory in the mind or input onto a computer system. Modifications can be made once this idea has been hatched and can be done on paper or in a computer system. Playing with LEGO bricks allowed students to use their imagination to produce a structure with physical substance, making changes to the project based on the tasks assigned before presenting the final product.

Students were encouraged to have a business idea in mind. In this case, a configuration in which the students aspired to create from the LEGOs. With only 2-3 minutes to perform each task based upon complexity, students needed to be prepared, as each task was a precursor to the next.


Project Tasks & Business Development Learning Objectives

  1. Erect the Tallest Structure

    – A warm up exercise stimulating the brain and the hands. Castells, as the facilitator, was also secretly assessing the competitive nature of the students participating. In this initial task he evaluated what students thought to be important for our business, ie. the LEGO structure. Were students engaged in building a strong foundation to make the structure last the test of time? Or were they merely focused on quick results without any consideration of sustainability?
  2. LEGOs Present a Business Idea

    – In this task, students were to present and explain their business ideas figuratively using LEGO bricks. For example, in order to explain an innovation related to the restaurant business, a student would need to demonstrate the food/cuisine/theme/uniqueness of the restaurant with LEGOs. This task set the stage to thinking about various aspects that correlate to the overall function and ultimate success of a business.
  3. Create an Analogy of the Actual Variables the Business Faces

    – A business is a collection of constants and variables. Variables can be threats, disruptions, and lacuna in the segment. Constants are more easily controlled, but still need to be identified.
  4. Challenges Encountered by the Business

    – While variables are external factors in the success of a business, challenges can be internal factors that must be overcome. Important insights can be taken from interpreting each of these elements of a business.
  5. Possible Solutions to a Problem

    – A problem can have one or many solutions. All the possible solutions need to be thoroughly thought through and explained in order to identify which one will be the most profitable for the company.
  6. Capstone

    - Students selected the right solution to address the problem.
  7. Pictures

    – Images protect ideas and help not to forget the experience. Even more important is having a presentation of the business idea in an alternative dimension which only adds more clarity to the business plan written with pen on paper or typed on a computer screen.
Business development as expressed through multiple LEGO variables

As the Lego Serious Play Workshop drew to a close, students were asked to give a brief description of what they had built. The briefing was meant to convey the individual nature of the project. Each participant introduced what they had built and helped their colleagues see it from the eyes of another. One single project can be interpreted in a multitude of ways by different people.

The main point students took away from this business development workshop was that there is no ONE RIGHT way of doing things, there are countless ways of doing one thing RIGHT. It is a continuous learning process, one of modification and revision, where there is no standard, concrete answer to any question. The mind and hands are free to create and build that which one envisions, which may be entirely different from that of his or her neighbour.

The LEGOS Serious Play Workshop was a tremendous success. A unique learning experience completely unseen before by the student body. Offering a new visual perspective on business development, innovation, marketing, strategy, service and product design.

Our Master’s Degree in Business Innovation and Creativity takes a hands on approach to learning, offering students fun and unique experiences promoting total comprehension and the capacity to implement the curriculum learned in the classroom to real life. Get involved and apply today !

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