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Building a Better Business Using the Lego Serious Play Method by Per Kristiansen, Robert Rasmussen

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Chapter 3Defining Serious Play

The next important habitat in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® territory is play—but not just any play, serious play. This kind of play has an explicit purpose and is done in a particular way. This chapter provides an explanation of what we mean by this kind of play. We'll give examples of play with a purpose and define what we mean by serious play.

The first thing we must carve in stone is that serious play is “play with an explicit purpose.” That purpose is to address a real issue for the participants around the table by getting them to lean forward, unlock knowledge, and break habitual thinking.

It is not frivolous play; it is not taking a break from work, and it is something subtly different from many other important kinds of play in which lots of learning also is involved (for more on play, different kinds of play, and ways of categorizing them, see Chapter 10).

Introduction to Play

We should probably make it clear that most play is anything but frivolous. Even the kinds in which we partake when we're young typically have some sort of developmental purpose, even though this purpose typically is not explicitly stated.

The implicit developmental purposes of play are as numerous as its subcategories. We are not going to go into all of these here. What is far more helpful is for us to present how Johan Huizinga in his groundbreaking book Homo Ludens defined what play is and what it does for children: “An activity is playful if it is: 1. Fully absorbing, ...

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