We know the use of prototypes from the design process: prototyping of user interfaces, products, software or entire production facilities. In the StrategicPlay® CoCreation Workshops we go one step further and develop prototypes of visions, strategies and business models.
Especially in our fluid times and our constantly changing environment, old models of thinking have to be overturned more quickly. We cannot fix the future of our company, our brand or our business model here and now, but we have to rethink things, adapt them and allow new ideas for them.
But in order to start successfully, we first have to make the complex challenge tangible. With a visualisation, we can make alternative ideas and scenarios visible in the workshop, try them out and test them, and then let them become reality together.
Prototyping ideas - beyond the comfort zone
Our workshops have shown us what this game of alternatives and possibilities can produce. The big challenge for the participants of our workshops, however, is the unfamiliar attitude behind prototyping: "It's just a prototype!" and "It doesn't have to be perfect. Just good enough to go on!"
The reaction to this, for many new, attitude is usually uncertainty: "I'm just supposed to present my ideas like this? I'm supposed to build without a ready-made solution or concept? There is no right or wrong?"
In order to achieve the necessary opening in thinking, it is necessary to overcome the old "right/wrong" thinking in the minds of the participants. We are conditioned to always find the one right solution. And we don't like to admit that we don't know the right answer. This conditioning inhibits creativity. It makes it difficult for us to develop ideas because we evaluate at the same time. Which, in turn, prevents us from allowing new ideas and letting them grow.
Easier with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™.
Our preferred method for prototyping future models is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. In our experience, this is the best method to foster collaboration and creativity.
For the following reasons:
- Thinking with your hands: makes abstract things tangible. In LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® it's called "Give your brain a hand!". It works. In all the years we have been using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, our participants in workshops and trainings are always surprised how they can make even the most abstract question tangible in a very short time with LEGO and the right process. For example, a former participant from our LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training told how he approached the topic of "lifelong learning" in his organisation with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. The conservative managers and participants were very sceptical during the planning if they should come up with anything at all, and then also built with LEGO, on the complex topic. Afterwards, they were enthusiastic about how detailed they were able to give shape to the topic in a short time, with the help of LEGO prototypes. Because everyone was challenged by the questions that built on each other to build their ideas. But they had more time and less pressure compared to usual meetings, where we have to have the "right" answers ready right away. In LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® the participants build and think at the same time. As a result, we build and think more intuitively, come up with new ways of thinking while building and usually surprise ourselves.
- Hands-On: on to more diverse and better ideas. In our experience, creativity requires that ideas are not only said but also visualised. We like to hear the storytelling about the models of our team members, the hands-on explaining on the model makes it easier for us to understand what is said and to remember it. Or to build on ideas and expand the prototype. When everyone has explained their prototypes, these are the "idea containers" whose meaning I remember better and more vividly in detail than if someone had not visualised it / as if only narratives were available to me and my memory. Only visualisation saves what has been said so that I can have it ready later and build on it. Because new ideas only emerge from new connections. Either with something others have said or something that has already worked well in other areas. Steve Jobs said "Creativity is just connecting things." Building thinking models with LEGO supports this cognitive flexibility.
- Anyone can do Lego. Of course, prototypes can also be made in other ways than with LEGO. Very popular at the moment, also with us, are the scribbles of visual facilitators and large pictures that are created thanks to graphic recording, e.g. after conference contributions. But who can spontaneously sketch their ideas in such a way that they are comprehensible and also impress with artistic talent? Also, not everyone is so skilled and practised at making prototypes. Since we want to involve everyone with all ideas, we don't want any hurdles. Building LEGO, on the other hand, anyone can do. All it takes is a warm-up and inspiring material (admittedly, it's not just any Lego bricks). Above all, it needs the right, open and future-oriented questions that open the mind and trigger new thinking.
The ability to rethink things and allow new ideas gives us the chance to shape the future. But to get started, we first have to make the complex challenge tangible: Very simply, step by step, with prototyping visions.