The 2019 Pearson Higher Education Exploring Strategy Teachers’ workshop had a strong focus on digital strategy – clicks – but Dr Eric Chan from Regent’s University London also introduced a very analogue approach to strategy teaching - LEGO® bricks.
The workshop, held at Pearson's Strand offices, was well attended by strategy academics, authors and strategy professionals from a wide range of industries and countries.
Dr Chan is a certified LEGO® Serious Play facilitator, and with the help of Regent’s alumna, Meryem el Hayani, and two Regent’s MA Management students, Nyamgerel Tsolmon and Beauty Nyembo, showed workshop participants how LEGO® bricks can be used to teach strategy in a lively and insightful way. Participants came out of the workshop energised and ready to try LEGO® with their own students.
Dr Chan explained that LEGO® Serious Play (LSP) is a process to envision, explore and prototype possible solutions or paths by ‘using your hands to discover what’s within your mind.’ It can be used for coaching, strategy thinking and development, exploring life purpose and goals, market analysis, innovation and ideation and much more.
The LSP has certain processes from skills building, which includes building metaphorical stories, to responding to challenges, giving meaning to models, and reflecting on model insights. The process can be expanded with individuals or teams. Applications include the development of landscapes (creating the ecosystem around a topic or theme), scenarios (exploring future developments), emergence (adding a real time aspect to explore what may transpire or emerge in the system) and simple guiding principles (creating principles in order to achieve the new strategy).
In particular, Dr Chan described how the LSP methodology can be used to give students a concrete sense of the Three Circles model, whichincludes strategic position, strategic choice, and strategic action. The students worked in teams to construct a particular organisation which shared physical representations of all three components of the model, using a set of LEGO® bricks.
The bricks can show the power of the organisation’s position relative to customers, suppliers or competitors, and even looming threats or promising opportunities in the background environment. Again, bricks can describe the business model, and possible alternative strategies and models going forward.
Finally, bricks can represent possible assets and liabilities in any proposed strategic change process. As students experiment together with different arrangements of bricks, they see new angles and share individual insights, until arriving at some kind of consensus.
If you want to use or learn more on LSP, please contact Dr Eric Chan.