LEGO Serious Play expert and IPA Strategic Planning speaker, Michael Fearne, is on a mission to encourage planners to embrace creativity—one block at a time.

How many times can six bricks of LEGO be configured into something new? Close to one billion, or to be precise, 915,103,765.

Surprised? For most of us, LEGO is simply a toy. But for Michael Fearne, an expert in LEGO Serious Play, the brightly coloured blocks can shape or change the way we think.

Thanks to a technique combining the use of LEGO and storytelling, he draws on LEGO Serious Play methodology to help teams develop new mindsets and achieve effective business outcomes.

Fearne, who will be running two half day workshops as part of the IPA Strategic Planning Residentials, says LEGO is a great tool to encourage creativity and different thinking within business settings.

Ahead of his IPA session, Fearne shares this preview of the LEGO activity.


Best Manager/Boss

My best manager played two important roles and so is represented twice (the figure with a red top and white pants). On the far left she was always there as a support. Down at our level backing us up. She had the direction (map), the ability to see trends (the binoculars) and a touch of magic (the wand) to help us out when needed. The second role was being out front and sweeping away (with her broom) the obstacles and barriers (lion, shark, angry man on the phone with a top hat). Her aim was to clear a path so we could achieve our team goals (the silver cup). Her ability to know when to change roles made her a great manager.

What strengths do you bring?

The person’s strength is in the new ideas and being a connector. They are the mini figure at the bottom, the white column and the bush at the top are the new ideas and innovation. These connect to the other mini figures (attached to their heads representing the transfer of ideas. It also lifts them up, above some of the traps and dangers of conventional thinking below (ie the net and rubble). It’s also on a turntable representing the agility and adaptability of this persona and their ideas. 

My role with a new client?

This person’s role is to keep the project on track. He does this by uncovering and connecting all the different views within the client organisation. The items attached to the head (ie tube, bush, a half circle with a brush in it) represent different views and there is a string connecting all of them. There is a white board on the left that helps to visualise and show the progress of the project. The elephant is the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. The specific big problem that this person has killed to allow the project to move forward.

Watch this video for a taster into his sessions


Michael Fearne is a guest presenter at the IPA Strategic Planning course “Changing Perspectives” in Sydney on August 27-29 and Melbourne on September 3-5.

Course information:

IPA Residentials are designed for delegates to step away from the day-to-day business for three days of intensive mentoring, analysis, debate and interactive learning that can be applied the very next day. Accommodation and meals are included.