Frequently Asked Questions
Is this the same as “The Brick Testament”?
No, it’s not the same. The works of Brendan Powell Smith are about making the Bible and Bible-stories in to a sort of comic-book through LEGO. Although The Making of Meaning also uses LEGO as a visual medium, the purpose is different. That which is portrayed, is the way in which the Bible and the faith are experienced, lived out and applied in person. The LEGO-models are often abstract looking, in the first place because they are used to portray non-tangible things such as beliefs, thoughts and feelings.
Is it possible to cover a specific topic instead of a text from the Bible?
The Making of Meaning can certainly be used to explore a specific topic. During my graduation research it turned out that the method was very suitable for expressing a question like: “What does friendship mean to you?”. In Creative Explorations by David Gauntlett you can read how this sociologist got people to think about their identity, and then had them depict their thoughts in a LEGO model. So that too is possible. The great thing is that when you use LEGO Serious Play in conjunction with scripture, it doesn’t just bring you surprising new insights about yourself and each other, but also about the Bible. The fun and exciting thing is that there is not only interaction between you and your LEGO model, but also between you and Bible. A Bible-verse can suddenly gain a lot more vitality if you use a LEGO metaphor to portray the elements you notice, those that appeal to you and that challenge you.
What is the optimal group size?
LEGO Serious Play is applied in groups of the most diverse sizes. In the setting of a church Small Group, I have applied it in groups ranging from 4 to 12 people. A practical restriction can be the maximum number of people that can be seated at a table. My experience is also that meetings become more intensive as the group grows. Everyone tells his or her story after building, and all the others listen. For the participants, it matters in terms of effort whether they have 6 or 10 stories to listen to. Increasing group size also shortens the time that is available for each participant to share his or her story. The optimal group size lies somewhere between 6 and 8 participants. With a larger group, you can also consider working with a number of subgroups.
Where can I find more background information?
If you would like to read more about the background of LEGO Serious Play and the importance of play, look at all the source references in literature.
Is this site sponsored by LEGO?
No, this website is not sponsored by the LEGO Group.
I don't have a lot of LEGO available. Could that become an issue?
It is certainly possible to carry out the concept with a small(er) amount of available LEGO. You could even read what David Gauntlett writes on how small the LEGO-set can be for LEGO Serious Play. It is, however, advisable to ensure sufficient quantity and variety. This way everyone has enough LEGO at his or her disposal in order to be guided by inspiration and to portray what he or she envisions. Most people can’t cope with a selection of bricks alone.
Does this concept only work with LEGO?
No, it would be quite conceivable to carry out this concept with other materials. You could for example use other three-dimensional material. This entails construction toys, such as knex, but in fact any material is suitable as long as participants are able to build metaphors in it. Using LEGO does offer some advantages. In practice, everyone knows how to work it, young and old. Even people who have never touched LEGO before manage to figure it out just fine. Without much effort you build something unique, by combining a few LEGO pieces. Because LEGO consists of both blocks and “prefabricated” elements, such asminifigures, trees and boats, there is plenty of inspiration for those looking for a suitable metaphor. Some prefer to build with the bricks, while others feel attracted to other LEGO pieces.
Can I also use Playmobil?
Playmobil could be used; please consider reading what I have written above about the use of other types of material. Many people associate The Making of Meaning with a method that is used inside (contextual) therapy, where Playmobil is used to let people visualize their relationships relative to others. This association is not unjustified, because in The Making of Meaning self-image and relationships with others are recurring themes. Sometimes participants gain new insights about themselves and their relationship to the world around them. In fact, Playmobil serves as a metaphor, just like in The Making of Meaning. An important difference is the process of construction, which occupies an essential place in LEGO Serious Play. With LEGO it’s possible to create an infinite number of structures, much more than with Playmobil. Especially when focusing on this construction process, new insights can emerge.
Can I use Best-Lock, Mega Blocks, etcetera?
There are now many alternative materials available that are similar to LEGO. In terms of possibilities, these aren’t inferior to LEGO when used for The Making of Meaning. However, these alternatives often turn out to be less durable. Especially if the LEGO is used at various meetings and by several participants, the strength and the quality of the material will be put on trial.