Posts tagged ‘embodied cognition’

May 20, 2016

The relationship between Business & Design: the Lego Serious Play case

The relationship between business and design has gone through deep changes in the past years. We are assisting at a convergence between business and design lead by the formalisation and adoption of design thinking and the revelation that good design is good business: many approaches from design have migrated into business and management enhancing the potential of business focused companies.

But there is a very special case of a method that was developed as an answer to a business need that has successfully migrated to design practices.

This is the case of Lego Serious Play: developed from the ’90s to improve the quality of strategic development meetings it has now been adopted by design companies to enhance creative processes, collaboration among different department, promote co-creation and participative design that includes customers, users, designers, and stakeholders.

Presented at #CassCreativity Seminar series on May 4th 2916, you can watch the whole Storyfy from this Link.

June 20, 2014

The collective mind of Serious Play

In good company Southbank © Patrizia Bertini

 © Patrizia Bertini

In the past few years, the number of articles published around Lego Serious Play is hugely increased.

The initial theories developed in the mid ’90s, 20 years ago, by Johan Ross and Bart Viktor and put into its current shape by Robert Rasmussen, are today converging and mingling with new trends and emerging  needs.

What was supposed to simply be a language, communication tool, problem solving methodology, based on the belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions, and the outcome, it has become a tool for exploring, both a crinkly and torn treasure map to be completed with the imagination of the facilitator and the participants, and a hammer to deconstruct and construct new opportunities.

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March 2, 2013

Unveiling Knowledge: pre-linguistic experiences and metaphors

Experience-driven metaphors reveal knowledge (C) NewYorker

How can we access Knowledge?

This question was triggered by Slobin’s book, Psycholinguistics, originally written in 1971 that I was reading in its second edition.

Slobin reflects on language and the role of psycholinguistics, and there he states that “language, like all systems of human knowledge, can only be inferred from careful study of overt behaviour. […] It is important to grasp the distinction  between overt behaviour and underlying structure. In English and other languages, the distinction is expressed  in the concepts of LANGUAGE and SPEECH: SPEECH has a corresponding verb form, whereas LANGUAGE does not.” (Slobin 1979 :2).

This distinction reminds Saussures’ Langue and Parole, when he says that language should be considered as the norm of all other manifestations of speech (1916 :9). Though Slobin, by pointing out the active nature of speech, that corresponds to a verb, to an action, has brought in something I have found worth a thought. So, what if we shift Slobin’s definitions and equal knowledge to language and speech to the act of meaning making?

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February 17, 2013

Building knowledge

Theaetetus by Plato

“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” [Plato,  Theaetetus] 

When we want to know something, what we do is to search for reliable sources of information, to look for people who spent their lives studying a subject, trying to give it a sense, trying to make the topic understandable and clear and adding their own insights by formulating some statements which should define – and sometimes confine – the realm of knowledge we can get.
When we search for information, the first thing we rely on is the literature on the topic: we delve into books and papers, read, listen and watch everything relevant. Like sponges, we absorb what the world have already said and thought about the subject at hand, we take one or two of those main concepts, adopt them and elaborate our personal and critical insights starting from there.
We might end becoming experts and authorities on that subject with people asking us to explain the mysteries we already faced in the early stages of our research.
We build our knowledge step by step, brick by brick, by collecting information and combining it in something that fits the existent knowledge and our experience.

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February 2, 2013

Harkness Table and LSP: Differences and similarities

Harkness Table

Harkness Table

I was reflecting on my experience with architecture students at University of Ferrara and LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. [See the video]

I find amazing how students who did not have any clue about the content and the goals of the workshop engaged in the discussion and raised a number of enlightening ideas about Heritage. They were not asked, neither provided, any books or papers to read, the idea was to understand how a bunch of students in their early-twenties could theorise and think about Heritage independently, critically and collectively.

So, in my research about educative approaches that capitalise on collaboration and collaborative meaning-making, I’ve found about the Harkness Table. For those who are not familiar with it, this is an educative approach introduced in 1931 when Edward Harkness, a philanthropist, challenged Exeter University asking them to innovate education and provided them with an oval table. The idea behind the table, which was meant to allow 12/15 students to sit around together with their teacher, was to create a different approach to education where students were seen as a team and could be encouraged to take part to a discussion, interact and learn about collaborative practices, by reducing the influence of the teacher.

The idea of a class as a team  that capitalises on teamwork and encourages interaction among students in a free environment sounded a pretty close approach to that I adopted. The Harkness Table focuses a lot on these concepts, and I’ve found it thrilling. Though the more I read about it, the more the differences emerged.

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January 21, 2013

Connecting the Bricks

Why did I ever get so much into the bricks?

I used to play with LEGO when I was a child, like most children of my generation: my father dreamt of having an Architect daughter one day. He’d never imagined that instead of becoming an Architect and follow his dreams, I’d have kept playing with the bricks my way.

After 4 years of experiments, study and research – mostly done almost hidden in my room on my own – I have just came out and simply have found out that there was another way to delve into the power of LEGO, not as a mere playing toy, but as powerful tool to be used to find out more about ourselves, both as individuals – like the bricks’ based interviews – and as part of  larger, mutually related and dependent organism, with LSP.

The way we talk and think, how we conceptualise the world and the words we use to picture our world, are just bricks of our minds, where material bricks come as a precious aid to better connect our inner thoughts.

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