Lego, what is it good for? absolutely everything!

Can he build it, yes he can (just about)
Took a while, failed a few times along the way, gained an extra grey hair or three, however reached the goal in the end #Lego #Technic #42039.

The trials and tribulations of building #lego is a great metaphor for starting a business, building a start-up or kicking off a project.

Like the above model? check it out here 42039 24 HOURS RACE CAR

Lego, what is it good for? absolutely everything!

Turns out Lego is very versatile and is great when leveraged across a wide range of applicable areas including but not limited to the following

  • It’s great fun to play with as a child (big or small)
  • Very successful to help treat many learning disabilities
  • Helps you get back to focusing on the here and now
  • Fantastic for breaking the ice in an innovation workshop
  • Teaches you to plan projects, mitigate risks and recover from failure
  • Great for unlocking writers block and awakening your imagination
  • Perfect for clearing the mind during stressful situations
  • Great for team building and personal development
  • Last but not least, it teaches you patience

The wonder years
Up until last year, the last time I had played with Lego was when I was about ten years of age and had long since forgotten the joys and positive benefits of doing so.

I used to play with Lego for hours on end and in those days when instructions were light, you just overturned the biscuit across the living room floor, let your imagination run wild then started to build all manner of crazy and wonderful creations right up until your mother would shout to tidy them up before your father made it home for tea.

The re-awakening
Last year for fun my better half had added some lego from “Lego the Movie” to the presents that she gave me for my 40th Birthday (yes that grey hair is real) and at the time I smiled but essentially ignored the gift.

We went out for dinner that night (very enjoyable I might add) and early the next morning while trying to blow out the cobwebs generated from the excesses of the night before I cracked open the box and started to build. Suddenly three hours had passed the cobwebs had cleared and my first Lego model in thirty years was complete.

We then moved apartment, the model got lost in the mix got stuck in storage for a few months until one day I rediscovered it while clearing out the cellar. Not finding anywhere suitable to display it in the apartment I decided to take it into the office and leave it on my desk.

Having it there daily in front of me for hours at a time clearly sparked something as one day without warning I found myself with an armful of Lego’s at the local Spar shop standing at the counter waiting to pay when I’d only popped into to buy a sandwich for lunch.

The boss has lost the plot and is ready for the funny farm
Now I’ve managed to positively infect my team with the building bug you can meet them and some of their own creations below.

Initially, they thought I was nuts when I brought in some small lego models for them into the office that day after lunch and they all basically smirked and scratched their heads while I handed them out but essentially ignored them for a few days.

Then something interesting happened, they started to build, laughter was heard, banter passed back and forth between them on each others building skills (or lack, thereof) the rest, as they say, is well history.

Meet the team below

(Left to right Paula, Tristan, Riccardo & Russ)

The big race, the heat is on
Next up was the big race! the team had to build/modify their own Lego pull-back racers then we had the big race at the office including a video finish. The positive buzz that the build up for this simple little lego race generated was infectious to those within proximity around the office.

Initially sceptical and generally very professional folk from across walked by and without fail stopped a while to see what was going on, then liberally dolled out advice on how to increase the performance, shave a few precious seconds off their times or even in some cases suggestions on how to nobble the competition (will mention no names)

Time and again fathers and mothers regaled us with stories of what they used to build as kids, what their own kids were currently building and in particular if they had built the models we were working on how slow we were versus their kids at building them!

We have a controversial winner, video footage makes it definitive
Below are the fine Lego chariots the team had assembled for our inaugural “Coffee Digital Team” drag race. Which model* do you think won the race? you might be surprised!… we certainly were (*all models had same engine)

Left to Right: Tristan, Riccardo, Paula, Russ & myself
So what has this little episode taught me about Lego?
Lego is a great tool for personal, team and company development and, above all its just fun no matter what age you are.

Gather your Lego > Start building > Refine as you go

  • Decide what you want to build
  • Create, follow or scrap the plan
  • Gather your resources
  • Start building
  • Be ready to pivot
  • Embrace failure
  • Trust your instincts
  • Have fun

Happy building!

Got a suggestion on what #lego model I should build next?

This post first appeared on Linkedin April 4th 2015

By Niall O’Gorman Impulse Innovation & Startups at @MDLZ. Co-Founder @ChannelSight between Zurich and Dublin
#Disruptive #Digital #Innovation #Enterprise #Startups #Lego

Also by Niall O’Gorman