Series 1/3: For the Love of Lego – This series reflects on the role Lego can play in understanding and tackling engineering problems.
A couple of months back I got a message from my sister advising me that Transport for London had made a Lego bus stop outside the London Hamleys store on Regent Store. Immediately I started looking for conferences or training opportunities that would give me an excuse to get down to the City. Lego has always been a passion for me and growing up I constantly had Lego trains driving round my room. It was a daily challenge trying to lay out a Lego track and try and use the room as a functional space. It is therefore not a surprise to my family that I decided to become a civil engineer and have always had a passion for railways.
Quite often we can see engineers as Lego designers setting the instructions and restricting what we can achieve. The truth is far from that’ an engineer’s role is to expand and change the scope of what we believe to be possible. Every challenge presents a new set of problems, the role of an engineer is to find creative and innovative ways of overcoming these problems. We do set constraints based on health and safety and we map out these constraints. The role of an engineer is to challenge these boundaries; creating breakthroughs with new materials and methods. An engineer has to stay within the boundaries of what is feasible but create the extraordinary.
“LEGO SERIOUS PLAY taps into the human ability to imagine – to describe and make sense of the business at hand, to initiate change and improvement, and even to create something radically new”
Lego Serious Play is a great example of the power of creativity and constraints. The philosophy of serious play lies within the power of the imagination. It uses Lego construction to tell a story, presenting a catalyst for people to connect and exchange ideas. It is a simple idea and its strength lies within the constraints of the physical bricks. The constraints enable the untold story to unfold guided by the available resources. These ideas are also present in Lego Creationary where upon selecting a card you have to present an object with limited bricks. The game forces the player to be creative by using the Lego bricks for different uses other than originally intended. This is a core value of innovation and aligns with the idea that true innovation is born from the necessity to overcome challenges with limited resources.