Let’s Talk Visual

Lego Serious Play: A Tool for Building Results

August 26, 2019 Carmen Eckert Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sandra (Large)Although, from the outside, a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop may just look like playing with Lego, its structured process elicits deep thinking, powerful storytelling, authentic collaboration and problem solving of complex challenges that organizations, businesses and communities face.
The few experiences led at SDC proved the efficiency of this process designed to enhance engagement, performance and innovation in large and small organizations.
After organizing a Lunch & Learn Session in June, here we are with a new blog post to invite you all experiencing “to think with the hands”.

Sandra Gentizon, SDC


What is Lego Serious Play?

Lego Serious play is a facilitation method based on the belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions, solutions and the outcome.
The use of LEGO bricks simply enables you to take a speedy shortcut to the core. Deep learning and collaboration can more easily be provoked when people build ideas with their hands rather than just talk about them (80% of our neurons are connected with our hands).
The bricks work as a catalyst – and when used for building metaphors, they trigger processes that you were previously unaware of.


When to use Lego Serious Play?

“LEGO SERIOUS PLAY rejects the idea that external ‘experts’ must be brought in to identify problems, and to propose solutions; on the contrary, LEGO SERIOUS PLAY begins with the assumption that the answers are ‘already in the room’, and invites participants to ‘think with their hands’ to build their understandings. Every member of the team participates, and everyone has a voice.”
Thus, when you want to gather the total individual and team brain power to work on complex business issues LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is the method of choice. And it can be used in a wide range of contexts such as:

  • Organizational development
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Building a shared vision
  • Creating an organizational strategy
  • Change management of structural changes and mergers
  • Exploring development of new innovations



The basic sequence of any LEGO Serious Play process consists in three phases:

Phase 1: The Challenge
The facilitator poses the building challenge to the participants.

Phase 2: Building
The participants build a LEGO model representing their reflections on the building challenge.

Phase 3: Sharing
The participants share the meaning and the story that they have assigned to their own models.

This basic ‘building block’ is repeated several times in any LEGO SERIOUS PLAY session.


  1.  100% participation guaranteed
  2. Gives shy people confidence
  3. Fresh perspectives guaranteed
  4. Gets to core beliefs and values
  5. Authentic expression (no lies)
  6. Create a common language
  7. Clarifies complexity
  8. Group alignment guaranteed
  9. Memorable results
  10. Saves time


Ressources and Related Stories

Top ten reason to use Lego Serious Play
LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Open Source Manual
Dare to draw – Use simple drawings to communicate, engage and energize groups

Upgrade your workshop with a background story!

September 06, 2018 annavonsury Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools, SDC Networks

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

NadiaHynek Bures neu

How to create an immersive workshop experience, where your participants bathe in the juices of the workshop’s topics? Immersive doesn’t require virtual reality headsets, foremost it requires a story. Here a practical example.

Nadia von Holzen, learning moments and Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions


For the DDLGN 2018 face-to-face event, we – Nadia as facilitator and Hynek as multimedia reporter – came up with a low-tech idea to tell the network’s background story: A timeline that portraits the network, its members, its achievements.

For your info: SDC’s face to face events are organized by the agency’s thematic networks, where participants exchange on the networks’ topics. In this case on democratization, decentralization, and local governance. This year’s event coincided with the network’s ten years anniversary.


How to find stories for your blog post, newsletter, report, workshop, presentation

January 18, 2018 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.7 out of 5


Remembering stories is a powerful skill. Including a story into the opening of a workshop, an e-discussion or your next presentation engages your audience. People love reading stories in blog post or newsletters; the stories allow you to underline your point. But how can you find stories? This blog shares 10 simple ways to retrace, notice, collect or reactivate stories.

 Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments




Sparking attention with visual workshop agendas

October 30, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.8 out of 5


aP1420370aPresenting the workshop agenda is a unique moment for sparking energy, motivation and curiosity. A visual agenda gives a first clue what will happen in the workshop and serves as orientation all along the workshop. As facilitator, you can show where the group is in the process; and as participant you know what will happen next and how you can engage.

Marie Marchand, SDC and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments (more…)

Explorative Thinking With Photographs

October 02, 2017 Natalie Frei Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

quadraticA picture is not only worth a thousand words but it can also elicit a thousand words. As an audio-visual anthropologist and digital storyteller, Darcy Alexandra has studied the relationship between text and pictures for more than 10 years. She employs audio-visual production like photo and video documentation and digital storytelling as a means of participatory inquiry with diverse research partners. In an SDC Lunch & Learn she encouraged participants to explore new ways to look at and use images.

By Natalie Frei


Inspiring inputs for conversation

August 23, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Hynek Bures neuNadiaPresentations are more than information delivery. Presentations should inspire conversation. When giving a presentation, we should always remind ourselves that the presentation is about the audience; and that the presenter has a supportive and facilitative role. Let’s flip our presentations and start with a question and a first small conversation. Let the audience talk before we talk.

Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments (more…)

Speaking in the first-person: A dynamic way to share knowledge

August 16, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

darcyMuch governmental writing is devoid of the first-person narrative. This approach to knowledge sharing can appear more objective. However, behind every text is an author who holds opinions and perspectives. Writing and speaking from a first-person point of view can make unique and diverse insights more transparent and accessible.

Darcy Alexandra, Inquiry Media (more…)

Do’s and Don’t’s of Power Point Presentations

August 09, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


PowerPoint presentations can be dull. But well designed slides can support the delivery of your presentation. Slides that are visual, catchy and easy to grasp are best. By observing some basic do’s and don’t’s you can make the difference with your presentation and pass your message.

Debora Kern, SDC Albania (more…)

Mind map = c’est penser avec stylo

April 26, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.6 out of 5


Une mind map – carte mentale ou heuristique – ressemble à un couteau suisse : c’est attractif et pratique. Cette méthodologie visuelle ne passe pas de mode. Elle est toujours moderne, attrayante, puissante.  Qui plus est, c’est facile et rapide. Finalement, sa dimension visuelle permet d’identifier les connexions et les schémas ce qui sert de base pour agir.

Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments (more…)

Dare to draw! Use simple drawings to communicate, engage and energize groups

March 09, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Sarah mugshot 2Caro Van Leeuwen recently posted an inspiring video about how she started using drawings during her internship at SDC, encouraging others to try it too. We did! At a recent Lunch & Learn event, we experimented with simple drawings of people, things and concepts. But what can we do with these drawings? And how can we go further?

By Sarah Clark (more…)

How your story tells you how it wants to be told

February 15, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Beat Rüdt

Irritated by the title of this post? You shouldn’t be. During the “Lunch & Learn” events and the multimedia and video workshops we learned, that there are a lot of good stories at SDC that are worth to be told and that can be told in many ways.

By Beat Rüdt, MAZ


Let’s Draw

February 01, 2017 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Caro van LeeuwenWhen I started my internship at SDC I’d never have thought that drawing would become so important in my work. Sometimes you just don’t find material to visualize what you want to say. This makes me grab my pencil and draw – and it adds a new twist to the presentation! You say you don’t have the talent to draw? Try and exercise and you will see: it is not that difficult. This video is meant to encourage you to discover your drawing skills, too! 

Caro Van Leeuwen, SDC (more…)

Questions Shape Our Stories

December 12, 2016 Blog Admin Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Darcy Alexandra NadiaThe story circle is a crucial first step in making digital stories. Sharing story ideas in the circle helps clarify what the stories are really about. It is an intense group process of joint reflection and inquiry that is meaningful for everyone involved. Mid November, the SDC Learning & Networking Team organized its 4th Digital Storytelling workshop in Bern. In this workshop, “Pivotal Stories in Intercultural Contexts,” the story circle was once again the starting point for a dynamic process of reflection and dialogue. This process continues throughout the entire workshop as storytellers edit, re-write, read aloud, and polish their scripts to completion. 

By Darcy Alexandra, Inquiry Media and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments


Communicating innovative ideas with video

December 01, 2016 Leonie Pock Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web” says Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard, a platform hosting business video content for distribution to websites and social channels. Not very surprising quote considering his position, you may say. But the success of the company reflects also the importance of video not only in marketing but also in other forms of communication. In this blog post, we want to have a closer look at the benefits of video in communication and introduce Lightbulb – a new format for sharing new and innovative learning experiences of SDC collaborators, units and networks. By Leonie Pock


Place, people, and the author’s voice: Three key ingredients for storytelling

June 09, 2016 Blog-Admin1 Change Stories, Let's Talk Visual, SDC Experiences

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

NadiaSoyolmaa, a great storyteller herself, supported three colleagues from the SDC Cooperation Office in Mongolia to create their very first story. These three short stories demonstrate important key ingredients of making stories: People, place and the author’s voice.

Nadia von Holzen, SDC


Dare to facilitate

May 25, 2016 Blog-Admin1 Change Stories, Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Facilitation is (also) a question of confidence, of daring to “stand there” and to be the facilitator. But first facilitation is a question of good preparation and of getting the 3 Ps clear: purpose, people and process. The key task of a facilitator is helping the organisers to clarify the purpose of the workshop, to understand people’s needs and questions, and to design a good process that is interactive, relevant and meaningful. 

Nadia von Holzen, SDC 


What does it need to pick up a story and to share it?

May 11, 2016 Blog-Admin1 Change Stories, Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

NadiaIn a work related context sharing stories happens spontaneously during coffee breaks. But what about more formal settings? Picking up a story during a meeting feels different; we hesitate, think twice, we don’t remember the stories and in the end the story disappears: we share our opinion and make statements. So what does it need to pick up a story? There are two essential conditions for storytelling: first, the belief that stories are valuable and can make a difference; and secondly the opportunity to remember and to share a story.

Nadia von Holzen, SDC


Going digital – a new experience of sharing your story

January 20, 2016 Blog-Admin1 Change Stories, Let's Talk Visual, SDC Experiences

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Thinley ChenzomThinley Chenzom, Social Events Manager at the Swiss Cooperation Office in Bhutan, gained a new experience by creating digital stories. She inspired her team to create digital stories for the annual report. This idea resulted into several 3’ stories.

Thinley Chenzom, SDC Bhutan (more…)

Documenting the process: The long road to a good story

December 23, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences, SDC Networks

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Hynek X-masThis post tells the story of documenting a learning process. The initiative to systematize experiences in the area of pastoralism was launched in collaboration with the Agriculture and Food Security network. The Learning & Networking team decided to document exactly this process. Two ‘reporters’, Charlotte Nager and Hynek Bures, joined the workshop in Kenia, where around 20 people gathered to learn from each others’ experiences in the field of pastoralism. While the participants were involved in thematic thinking the two ‘reporters’ added an additional layer of reflection. This challenging endeavor will hopefully inspire future stories about learning.

By Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions (more…)

Where to use videos in your work – some ideas

December 09, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Hynek Bures neu

Picking up the smartphone and recording a sparkling idea from the workshop is not unusual anymore in SDC. 213 videos have been uploaded to the SDC YouTube channel, this year only. That is why the next step needs some attention: How to use the new tool of expression and the videos produced in the work. This is a question of smartly combining the various communication channels: videos, PowerPoint slides, written reports, oral stories.

Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions (more…)

Creating a digital story is deep learning

November 11, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Change Stories, Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

AlfonsoNadiaThe beauty of digital storytelling is that the results are not only visible but also shareable. The beauty is also that the process of creating stories within a 3-days workshop triggers deep reflection and learning for the each storyteller.  

Alfonso Flores, communication specialist working for SDC’s Water and Sanitation programme in Central America shares his personal learning experience.

By Alfonso Flores and Nadia von Holzen, SDC (more…)

Need to explain a project? Why not use a story!

October 21, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Let's Talk Visual

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

NadiaIn our work we are confronted with many issues. Some are easy to explain, others need more words. A good way forward is sharing a story. Stories have the force to illustrate complex issues naturally. The images and voices you have in your mind make our sharing and learning more concrete, lively and contextual than a report can do.

Nadia von Holzen, SDC


How to make 1-minute video statements with your smartphone – Part 3: Edit and share

September 30, 2015 Carmen Eckert Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Hynek Bures neu

Do you want your message to have an influence? Share it! Here is how:

by Hynek Bures (dubbed perceptions) (more…)

How to make 1-minute video statements with your smartphone – Part 2: Record your message

September 16, 2015 Carmen Eckert Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Hynek Bures neu

When you have drafted a concise statement and you want to pass your message in an effective way, record it on video! You can do that simply with your smartphone. Here is how…

Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions



How to make 1-minute video statements with your smartphone – Part 1: Draft your statement

September 09, 2015 Blog-Admin1 Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Hynek Bures neu

Would you like to use your smartphone to record videos and share them with your colleagues? 

Hynek Bures, dubbed perceptions