Forget everything you think you know about LEGO Serious Play. We’re here to tell you about a new version of the popular method for developing corporate strategy and improving business outcomes dreamt up by award-winning play-based strategist and Certified LEGO Serious Play Facilitator Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie.
When most people think of LEGO Serious Play, they picture small leadership teams coming together to strategise and bond in a board room. After all, that’s how its creators Johan Roos and Bart Victor first intended it in the mid-1990s.
But when The LEGO Group made LEGO Serious Play available under an open-source, community-based model in 2010, it became possible for facilitators to experiment with their own takes on the method– facilitators like Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie.
“The beauty of LEGO Serious Play is that you’re allowed to make your own flavour of it, and that’s exactly what I did,” says Kate. “Drawing on my years working as a game designer at advocate for the power of play, I could see that the reason why LEGO Serious Play was so effective was because it was play-based. While of course it’s a great method for corporate strategy, what interested me was the ability for LEGO and play to be a simple yet powerful way to rapidly connect people and create deep understanding, all while putting a smile on their faces.”
This realisation led Kate to create her own, very particular kind of LEGO Serious Play called SUPERCONNECT, focused on human connection. Where the original LEGO Serious Play model targets small groups of seven to 10 people, Kate runs SUPERCONNECT sessions with hundreds of participants.
“I run sessions at conferences, for Zoom-based events and even speed networking sessions were participants build their answers to curious questions together. Clients often have me pair one of my sessions with a keynote which explains the science behind play and curiosity critical skills for dealing with ambiguity, boosting creativity and of course fostering human connection.” says Kate. “My biggest SUPERCONNECT session was with 600 women, helping them explore inclusivity and diversity.”
It was when Kate inquired about LEGO Serious Play kits for one such event that her partnership with BrickResales began.
“We connected immediately and the more we spoke about our visions and the ways we support our communities, we really grew as business partners,” says BrickResales founder Judy Friedman. “It was such a terrific meeting as we both love the sustainability, recycling and upscaling aspect, as well as being leading women in business.”
So, how does SUPERCONNECT work?
Kate explains that it’s all about crafting intentionally curious questions, then playing and building from there. She works closely with the client – whether they are a mental health not-for-profit, a national bank or a university – to craft a session designed around the specific outcomes the client is looking for. This could be anything from getting insight into how young people think about public transportation to helping participants to become more curious at work.
“Those details can take people through quite a transformative experience,” says Kate.
After the questions have been determined, Kate works backwards with her client to ascertain the length of the session and which LEGO parts will be used.
“SUPERCONNECT sessions can be an hour, half a day or a whole day,” says Kate. “It all depends on what the goal of the session is. I find that pairing the SUPERCONNECT session works really well because I can discuss a topic before allowing them to explore it experientially, for example talking about the importance of diversity as an innovation tool, and then giving participants a hands on experience of how diverse thinking leads to improved problem solving”
To source the kits for her SUPERCONNECT sessions, Kate contacts the BrickResales team and orders according to her needs. We generally invoice her client directly to simplify the process and arrange the delivery smoothly.
“With the right lead-up time, we can pull together some pretty amazing LEGO quantities,” says Judy.
Kate has years of game design, ethnography and anthropology (which you can read more about right here) under her belt, but it’s the feedback she receives from her SUPERCONNECT sessions that let her know this is her calling.
“I can see people connecting not only with others, but with themselves,” says Kate. “People leave feeling like they’ve had therapy or saying they now know people so much better, despite knowing them for years. The clarity and insight that comes from these sessions is amazing.”
Through SUPERCONNECT, Kate wants to amplify that kind of feedback.
“The beauty of LEGO Serious Play is that it forces you to get past your perfectionism and just do it,” says Kate. “With SUPERCONNECT, I can help people to get outside their heads and into their hearts, into a space of intuition and thinking with their hands.”
As for Kate’s partnership with BrickResales, both she and Judy are excited about the future.
“We love working together,” says Judy. “We both care about honesty and integrity in the world of LEGO and are passionate about assisting others, so it is a win, win! We would love to see more people achieve the amazing results she has.”