How to Play Like a Ninja with LEGO Ninjago-Inspired Challenges

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NinjagoIn the new animated film “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” which opens nationwide on September 22, the battle for Ninjago City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, who, along with his friends, are secret ninja warriors.

Led by Master Wu (voiced by Jackie Chan), they must defeat the evil warlord Garmadon, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting father against son, the epic showdown tests these fierce but undisciplined modern-day ninjas as they learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash the inner power of Spinjitzu.

Corporate event planners may be surprised to learn that – like the Ninjago characters – they can flex their own secret ninja skills and unleash the inner power of fledgling employees through strategic and playful use of Legos.

Legos to the Rescue!

It’s been consistently proven that productive play among corporate staff is an ingenious way of sparking creative solutions, opening communications and finding common ground between the ranks. How? Through company playdates with Legos. SeriousPlayPro.com is a non-profit community of professional facilitators who use Lego Serious Play methodology. The concept uses Lego bricks to improve creative thinking, develop problem-solving skills, explore ideas, and enhance communication in teams.

Legos Team Building

Guy Degen, a certified Lego Serious Play facilitator, found Legos to be an excellent tool for media development, specifically to create editorial and programming strategies, analyze and solve problems within an organization, kick-start creative thinking, support team building, facilitate constructive dialogue, and visualize theories or models.

Degen used Lego Serious Play to help the staff of an online magazine explore their company identity from different POVs. Lego Serious Play follows a four-step process: The facilitator poses the question or challenge; each participant builds his or her own model in response to the question; participants share the stories or meanings of their models; the facilitator and participants ask questions about the ideas emerging from the models.

The process showed that veteran staffers had different perspectives from new staff, but that together they could use Lego bricks to develop a shared model without boss-and-underling ranks suppressing fresh ideas. At first, many were skeptical, but then “I really felt the participants’ excitement about discovering new things about themselves and their colleagues,” says Degan. “I also noticed how they grew together during the workshop and how the spirit of teamwork evolved. Everyone was leaning in and contributing to a common purpose.”

Using Legos to Retool Your Client’s Mission Statement

Creative play can also help develop a set of simple guiding principles. Company mission statements are often long and confusing to employees, making it impossible to be fully supportive. Award-winning Lego Serious Play facilitator Derek Good uses Legos to help companies create a vision or mission statement that is succinct and memorable.

Good asks groups to build two Lego models: one that represents their ideal working environment and another that represents what they could do to demonstrate living the current mission. This gets them thinking about the future and their current belief in the existing direction. He then asks them to apply the same thinking to the company mission statement. What words could be removed to shorten the statement but maintain the essence? “After three rounds of discussions, we had a new seven words mission statement from the original 29 words,” he says. “Everyone was on board. In 30 minutes, we had achieved a succinct message to hang all of their activities on.”

Play Hooky With a Movie Screening

Reward your group’s problem-solving efforts with a Lego-related incentive: a group movie outing to view “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” either after work or as a collective field trip for a matinee screening. Group ticket discounts make this an economic “splurge,” especially when you provide your own treat bags with an assortment of candy Lego blocks, gummy Lego characters, and cupcakes decorated with edible Legos fondant “Legos.”  Etsy and Amazon offer a wide variety. Decorate primary-colored snack bags or boxes with a variety of Ninjago eye masks. And for inspiring office reminders, Lego offers free poster downloads with character-based messages like “Be Victorious,” “Be Masterful,” and “Be Green.” Catch a peek at the hilarious Warner Bros. trailer.

Become a Lego Master

Event planners can create their own Lego Serious Play concepts by becoming a certified facilitator at events like the 3rd annual LSP Un-conference for the Americas on September 26-27 in West Chester, Ohio at the Procter & Gamble Innovation Centre. Registrants will discover marketing ideas and collaborations, learn tips and tricks from Master Trainers, and get an inside look at one of largest packaged goods companies in the world, including P&G innovates using Lego bricks and other tools.

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