The Power of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® for Psychological Safety

Creative teams are the foundation for innovation in schools and organizations. Highly effective teams are able to develop solutions to challenging problems and build district-wide support for innovative programs. Success depends on establishing a psychologically safe environment so that team members can support each other in risk-taking.

Many teams are cross-functional with members who come from a wide variety of organizational levels, departments, schools and disciplines. To establish psychological safety with diverse teams, we provide LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®  (LSP) facilitated sessions to foster creative thinking, establish a common understanding of organizational identities, and create a shared vision for the team. The power of this process is that it allows each member of the team to have equity of voice through a facilitated process in which everyone participates and shares. Each person “leans forward” and builds a 3D model in response to a challenge question. After building, each person shares the meaning of their model. Teams gradually share more of their thinking as they become comfortable with the process and as the questions become more focused. After sharing individually, teams create common or shared models and reflect on the process.

This process works for diverse teams because it supports and challenges the “Way of Knowing” (Robert Kegan) for each person. Rule-based team members appreciate the structured process and are stretched to think more abstractly. Other-focused team members feel safe in sharing their thoughts and are stretched to acknowledge their own fallibility. Reflective team members appreciate the time to reflect deeply and are stretched when hearing diverse opinions and ways of solving a problem. Interconnecting team members quickly build connections between people and ideas and are stretched to acknowledge the complexity of problems. Team members leave the sessions with a respect for each other and a clear understanding of how the team will work together to achieve their aspirations.

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