Think With Your Hands

“True creativity often starts where language ends” is a quote from Hungarian-British author and journalist Arthur Koestler and perfectly describes the core of visual creativity techniques: Illustrating what you think but what is hard to describe.

During their EuroMBA Residential Week at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, the eight groups of students, in total 42 people, have to develop and work on their very own business idea. The task is to build a digital business model around the customer’s need including different group working sessions over the week and a final project presentation on the last day.

Before the participants could spring into action on the third day, they discussed examples of various creativity techniques in general, e.g. Open Innovation, Outside-In-Process, Design Thinking or the Morphological Box. For visualization specific aspects of their business models, Tim Mosig, M.Sc. Research Associate at the Center for Leading Innovation & Cooperation (CLIC), introduced the LEGO Serious Play Methodology to the students.

This game sounds like much fun, but it also comes with a few “strict” rules: Just start building, because what isn’t constructed does not exist. Think with your hands. And ask questions to other models but do not criticize or interpret them, because there are no wrong models.

Within one hour, the students had time to take their designed Customer Experience Journey and to prototype it by using LEGO and further provided material. They were encouraged to design their story and that the process includes imagination, communication, confidence, and commitment. At the end, all participants seemed very proud of their result:

Zoheir Chikhi and Nathan McQuay talked about their project: “Our business model, which we had to materialize, is about a new concept for an insurance company, which links between the clients and the customer, based on total transparency and high usability. The LEGO Serious Play Methodology was very funny and very creative. At the beginning, there was a lot of discussion and issuing, but then a lot of collaboration and we all had our parts. The group worked very well.”

“We have an app which suggests trendy and customized clothes for you and that are individually and sustainably produced in Bangladesh. Our target group is mainly US women from 30 to 45 years old. Today, we worked very well and quick together and had much fun with the LEGO”, says Melissa Ross about her team effort in the interaction with a big smile on her face.

Kerstin Schemmann emphasizes: “At the beginning, we started in our working areas but then aligned where each will be in the end and combined them. Everyone was welcoming to each other’s ideas. There was some discussion just to understand everybody and to get more concrete. All in all, it was such much fun and very creative to visualize a combined online/offline doctor application, that also works internationally.”