How LEGO solved

its business problem

through design

LEGO was founded in 1932, and has been immensely successful ever since.
But in 1995, things were changing. New toys like video games were entering the market, and children were playing differently. They were “growing older younger” and LEGO was starting to feel the effects of this trend.


Kjeld Kristiansen, the owner at the time, was dissatisfied with the company’s strategy-building sessions. His business was built on imagination—but the results from these sessions were decidedly unimaginative.
Something was missing… LEGO needed to find a way to channel employees’ creativity and innovation in the workplace.


LEGO realized that in order to unleash the imagination of their employees, they also needed to play—with LEGO!

Around the same time, Johan Roos and Bart Victor, professors at IMD business school in Lausanne, were also concerned about the poor results from traditional strategy-development techniques.
They began experimenting with using LEGO® bricks to tap into people’s unconscious knowledge and creativity.

Together with Robert Rasmussen, director of product development for the educational market at LEGO, they realized these concepts had real-world potential.
They started developing the strategy-building process, completing the methodology and making the results reproducible.


It’s a method consisting of a facilitated meeting, communication, and problem-solving process. Participants are led through a series of questions, probing deeper and deeper into the subject at hand.

Each participant builds his or her own 3D LEGO® model, which is then used as a basis for group discussion, knowledge sharing, problem-solving, and decision-making.

This allows participants to access and express untapped knowledge and insight. Through hands-on activity, they’re able to articulate concepts in a new way. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY encourages…

More meaningful discussion

Increased participation

Creative problem-solving

Efficient communication

What´s Strategic Design?

Strategic design is the application of design principles to find innovative solutions in areas such as business, government, and NGOs. It can be used to…

Redefine how problems are approached

Identify opportunities and key moments for action

Deliver complete and lasting solutions

User-Centered Design (UCD) puts the user at the core of all the stages of any process. In other words, users constantly test the product or service until it satisfies their needs.

What do strategic designers do?

RESEARCH – analyze the user and the context.

PROBLEM-SOLVING & INNOVATION – frame the problem and evaluate all possible solutions.

DECISION-MAKING – bridge the gap between businesses and users. Skills like business modeling and product and brand management allow strategic designers to create and accept business-related proposals.

Design Matters

Through LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, the company was able to apply their own core concepts and values—creativity, innovation, and hands-on learning—to their internal operations, with hugely successful results.

By incorporating strategic design into their problem-solving process, they unleashed the creativity and insight of their employees.
When people are given the chance to build and express their ideas through design, new opportunities for communication and collaboration abound.
Design is more than just a way to make things look nice—it’s also a way to bring out people’s inner creativity, to engage them in learning, and to find the solutions to problems that may otherwise seem impossible.