LegoViews and Socrates’ Midwife

LegoViews Key ideas

According to Wikipedia, “An interview is a conversation between two people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.”

LegoViews (LWs) do not much differ in the aim, though they deeply differ in the cognitive mechanisms they involve and in the process. Most of the best interviews we can think of, realised by investigative journalists, deeply delve topics in an argumentative way and the interview, in most cases, it’s a dialectic and cognitive fight between the interviewer and the interviewee. John Pilger, for instance, and most investigative journalists, are masters in the art of challenging their interviewee and dominate the dialectic fight.

LegoViews are not fights, they are collaborative dialogues, they are conversations.

LWs change the process of the traditional interview: they capitalise on the spontaneous content generation and meaning making enhanced by LEGO bricks. Constructivist thinkers and philosophers, like Papert, have widely analysed how the act of making things with hands, the act of constructing something concrete, activates different areas of the brain, allowing a different way to think and conceptualise.

LWs stems from such assumptions: if the brain thinks differently while hands and the individual are engaged in a constructive process, the information I can get from the interviewee are different, freed from the natural tensions of question-answer alternate, free from inquisitive questions which most the time contain a challenge, a provocation or a hint for the answer.

It’s well known that every time we interact with someone we put in place a number of cognitive mechanisms and we tend to provide answers which reflect the kind of image we want to portrait of ourselves, the will to satisfy [or challenge] the interviewer’s expectations, the social pressures we are subject to and the context. All these elements set some defensive mechanisms and generate a tension between the interviewees and the interviewer.

But what if we change the rules of the game and all these mechanisms become obsolete? What if instead of answering directly to the question the interviewee is asked to build a LEGO model of his answers? That is how LWs work.

LWs let the interviewee to spontaneously define the keywords and the main issues around the interview topic – interviewees’ opinions are the core of the process and the interviewer leads such a process by challenging the model rather than the individual. Since each brick acquires some peculiar meaning during the interviewees’ constructive process, through the use of the model, the interviewer delves into the topics and investigates on the ideas and concepts expressed by interviewees without challenging directly the individual on a personal level, but talking about the model. Such a non aggressive, constructive and collaborative way to discuss topics provides unexpected results: issues which are touched during LWs are often beyond what even the interviewee expected to say or reveal. The interviewee gets involved in the process, feels protected in a way by the presence and the mediation of the LEGO model and becomes much relaxed, reducing the natural defensive mechanisms induced by the traditional quick sparring match.

LegoViews act exactly as Socrates’ midwife: the LEGO bricks simply help people to give birth to ideas and concepts which are there but which do not always emerge and the reflection induced by the LWs’ process permits to these subconscious ideas to become known and to flow.


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