How to reach creative solutions faster: from Play Dough to Lego

Posted by Della Churchill on Jan 8, 2016 8:30:00 AM
Della Churchill
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Playing with Lego is for children right? Wrong.

Play can help unlock your team’s creative confidence by building a sense of trust between colleagues.  Bright new ideas often come from a creative risk, and creating an environment where people have a high-level of emotional support inspires the confidence to be creative.Bob McKim, a well-known creativity researcher in the 60’s and 70’s, thought that conservative thinking was caused by a fear of embarrassment or sensitivity to the opinion of others.

To break down conservative thinking he encouraged playful group facilitation and sparked numerous Play methodologies.To reach creative solutions faster, we need to understand the problem from multiple perspectives and Play is a powerful tool to unlock insights. Design Thinking is essential for companies wanting to lead the market through creativity and innovation. Design thinkers combine both logical thinking and creative imagination in order to co-create and build innovative products and services. It’s time to consider the Design Thinking Methodology.

Get your play tools at the ready!

Many Play tools are available to help facilitate the Design Thinking process with an organisation’s subject matter experts, including potential Design Thinking tool such as:

  • issue cards
  • group sketching
  • toy car races
  • play dough
  • role play
  • design games
  • Lego Serious Play


In a facilitated Play environment, participants are led through a series of questions, probing deeper and deeper into the subject. Activities serve as a basis for group discussion, knowledge sharing, problem solving and decision-making.

If you’re interested in learning more about Design Thinking, take a look inside our ‘Design Lab’ and get an insight into creative ways to solve problems.

So what’s the benefit?

By utilising visual, auditory and kinaesthetic skills, participants learn, listen, imagine and communicate their way to problem solutions.  By encouraging active participation everyone has a voice regardless of culture or organisational position. It can have the end result of helping perfect customer experience.

Through a Play experience real issues are addressed, possible scenarios are explored and insights are understood.  Play socialises groups so that a shared language is established and common goals are agreed. People are able to see things through the eyes of their colleagues – and have their views shared in a free and honest exchange of opinion. The physical and tangible activities allow conversations to flow without the fear of treading on personal feelings.

Play as a business tool can be at the heart of what makes businesses and the people inside them grow.  Business doesn’t need to be serious to be valuable, so take your Playfulness seriously. Ultimately, it can help improve your customer service experience.

IDEO’s Tim Brown talks the importance of play

Topics: Design Thinking and Customer Experience