Lego Serious Play

Last week, Director of the Real Madrid MBA program, Pedro Díaz Ridao, visited San Diego from Madrid, Spain, to give a series of lectures to the Sports MBA students.  We asked him to write about his first session, a workshop based on the Lego© Serious Playmethodology, of which Pedro is a certified facilitator. Sports MBA director, Scott Minto, interviewed Pedro about the session.

 Scott Minto:

Pedro, thank you so much for being with us, it’s a pleasure to have you back to San Diego to work with our students.  Why did you bring a suitcase full of Legos to meet the students in your first lecture?


Thank you so much for having me back to SDSU, it’s always a pleasure to be here in sunny San Diego!  I lugged a 45-pound suitcase full of Legos all the way from Madrid  because I am a passionate proponent of the Lego Serious Play methodology and its benefits for groups of students and professionals who often work together in group settings.  I’ve worked with SDSU extensively in the past and the Serious Play workshop is something I’ve always wanted to do with the SDSU Sports MBA students; it’s a great way for me to get to know each of them on an individual basis.  It’s structured to bring out concepts that you don’t get to cover in the course of a regular lecture.


Can you discuss the core concept behind the Lego Serious Play workshop?

The core of the methodology is based on research that shows that 85% of brain cells are connected to the hands.  The workshop’s involvement of Legos liberates the right brain and allows emotions to take over, and facilitates learning because creativity is fully involved.  It’s also one of the few ways to engage an entire group in such a way that every member is participating 100% in the learning activity, because who doesn’t love playing with Legos?

At first glace, the students were skeptical of a pile of toys in the classroom, but they soon warmed up to the activity because it really seemed to hint at bigger picture concepts related to their education.  What did you notice with this group?


First, I was extremely impressed by the level of engagement among the group and how quickly they got into the activity, especially after a demanding final exam the class before!  I noticed that this is an incredibly cohesive group and the students know one another extremely well.  They clearly know a lot about their respective aspirations and goals, which is helpful as they move on in their careers.  The second thing that jumped out at me was the focus that students have in their short-term goals and the resources they need to achieve them.  For example, I asked them to use Legos to create a model of where they hope to be in one year, and students were very introspective and thoughtful with their responses.  We ended with an action plan on how to prioritize their next steps as they work to achieve their goals through graduation and beyond.