Professional Play

My morning with Lego

01 Jul 2015

I recently attended the Business of Design Cape Town 2 day seminar and was pleased to have won a Coaching with Lego session with Elaine Rumboll.

Professional Play

I won this for, well, tweeting as Design Tact about going up to Rich Simmonds and asking him if he’d had enough hugs today (as payback for making everyone in the audience hug a stranger as an icebreaker the preceding day) and then just hugging him… it was deemed the funniest Tweet of the day and people standing nearby all had a good laugh.

I am a fan of not taking things in life too seriously (even though I find myself in severely sticky ruts of seriousness at times that choke the creativity completely out of me) because I truly believe that life tends to get serious enough on its own at times. So in this case I am pleased that letting my quirky (somewhat stalkerish, I suppose) self leap at the opportunity to be silly paid off with a most unexpected reward from Elaine!

Now that I have set the stage for what I was awarded in recognition of which disruptive act, let’s move along.

It’s hard to explain things better than Elaine Rumboll does herself. I sat in absolute attentiveness during her talk at #BODCT and was in a similar state of awe during the Lego coaching session itself. The idea of problem-solving through play is not only incredibly practical, if you allow yourself to not overthink it, but the process is also wonderfully enchanting. Here’s a motivation from Elaine’s website, The Creative Leadership Consultancy:

I was asked to think of a problem and then just build it out in Lego, in silence (talking engages the Ego again) in a mind state of play not analysis. The results were astounding to me as we progressed through the phases of addressing the problem.

I am not going to explain my problem and solution as, although it was infinitely valuable to my situation, it would probably not make much sense to any of you reading this and, hey, you all have enough problems of your own, right? I did thoroughly enjoy the process and found the “play” outputs to be of far more use than many other traditional forms of brainstorming or analytical sessions.

I also found myself wondering about what kinds of Lego constructions other people must place before Elaine! With a huge selection of blocks and characters and curves and tokens on the tables, I am still puzzled as to why I picked so many pink pieces (I am not a very pink type of person and I mostly dress in charcoal, black and any other shade of monochrome – very serious I KNOW). I had a look at some of the other builds on Elaine’s website to feed my curiosity…

Have a look for yourself on – also be sure to check out Elaine’s “Leading with PACE” (Play, Adaptability, Curiosity, Energy) and the “Agile Leader’s Toolkit“.