Retrospective Facilitator Gathering

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Lego @ Retrospectives


Sebastian Lang


Ralph Miarka, Josef Scherer, Sebastian Sanitz, Sebastian Lang


  • Discuss the usefullness of tools like Lego in retrospectives.
  • Share experiences with Lego in retrospectives (& in general)


Background Infos

In our company we (Thorsten Kalnin & Sebastian Lang) did some experiments using Lego based on the ideas of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (R).

A quote that fascinated us in this context: “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” -Plato

Thorsten Kalnin summarized the main ideas and intentions like that (at an internal Wiki documenting our Lego activities):

“In some businesses too much energy, too many ideas, too many opportunities are lost with the result that people feel less motivated, not involved, not taken seriously. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY deals with exactly that challenge. It is a language, communication tool, problem solving methodology, based on the belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions, and the outcome. The underlying values of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY include the belief in the potential of people. People may smile on using LEGO(TM) for finding solutions for complex challenges or working tasks as they could not imagine to use LEGO as tool and method finding creative solutions for such complex structures and situations. Let's dig into detail and have a look on the scholarship of problem solving… In the early 1950s, Jean Piaget - a swiss psychological scientist, developed a theory that explains how children learn through play while constructing and testing theories. He also devleoped the genetic epistemology. In the early 1960s, Seymor Papert - a south african Psychologist and Mathematician, discovered that people make sense of complex information when they build artifacts that help them connect information in their mind from what they learn about the world. From 1996 to 2002 LEGO and the international Institute for Management Development in Lausanne developed LEGO Serious Play in order to help organizations improve productivity and employee engagement. LSP was developed to create an effective process for innovative strategy development including the psychological expert knowledge. Thus one of the main central elements in LSP is the connection between hands and the brain which has, in comparison to other parts of a human body, the most pronounced sensory and motor. Our hands are connected up to 80% of our Brain-cells. Research has resulted that thinking processes in combination with physical agitation and perception - especially with hands - end up in a deeper and long toothed comprehension of the environment and it's prospects. The processed topics should not be only visualized through the building of metaphorical models.” - Thorsten Kalnin

As we caused different effects using Lego and observed a couple of pro's and con's of this tool, especially in retrospectives, my intention for this session was to discuss the impact, usefullness and risks.

Session Results

This session happend in the main room (Maria) of the RFG12 in Fladungen, while sitting on the floor arround a big bunch of Lego City (R) & Lego Technic (R) pieces. At the beginning of the session all participants shared some stories and experiences about using Lego in retrospectives or other agile activities, like trainings.

Sebastian mentioned, that using Lego in retrospectives might cause some puzzled faces, as it is an unusual toolset for meetings @ work. On one hand, this colorfull Lego pieces have the power to foster creativity and might act as a catalysator for a couple of interesting activities like simulations (even during retrospectives), on the other hand, Lego might be problematic for some participants, as it creates (as a strong metaphor for playing & toys at the childhood) an uncomfortable situation. So Sebastian was and is still puzzled, if Lego is helpfull at all, because on one hand it is ok to push ppl (in retrospectives) out of their comfort zone, while on the other hand the (retrospective) facilitator should take care of a save environment, where ppl could speak up and collaborate & interact without fear. Especially when Lego is used in environments, where external ppl can observe the ppl in the retrospective (through windows, glass doors, e.g.), some additional fear might be introduced, that is not helpfull at all. An other point of view might be: If you use Lego (as a metaphor, catalysator, toolset for playful simulations / experiences), it is very important to do a careful debriefing, to link the experiences made with Lego, with the real world stuff. This might not allways be successfull …

While discussing about the Pro's and Con's of Lego, mostly all participants did create some Lego sculptures, which was some fun :)


To be honest, there was no clear result of this session in the meaning of a group result or common sense, but Sebastian gathered a couple of valuable insights and will use Lego much more carefully and selective than before.

mo1.1.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/27 07:58 (external edit)