How a simple thing like adding LEGOs to our conference rooms increased creativity & innovation in the office.
Remember those multi-colored building blocks that cultivated your creative instincts as a kid? The ones that your parents would always step on and bite their tongues to avoid cursing whenever they were left on the living room carpet. They may have been small, but brick by brick you could build whole cities, towns, or really anything your heart desired. This is a toy that has been passed down for generations and never seems to go out of style. That’s right- I’m talking about LEGOs.
As we get older we tend to forget the value of creativity. Children become adults, play becomes work, freedom becomes responsibility, and things like LEGOs become a nuisance that can be found literally everywhere in the house. It’s not that adults are against coming up with new ideas. However, creativity often gets overshadowed by work responsibilities and pressures that take the fun out of brainstorming. Adults are creative all the time, but often feel burdened by the stress of everyday life. This can result in nervousness and anxiety about the process of coming up with new ideas, formerly known as creativity.
This pressure is especially prevalent in professions that rely on creativity. For engineers, solving problems and creating solutions is a necessary job requirement. These naturally creative people experience pressure to create designs and come up with new ideas in order to find solutions to a variety of problems. This stress often manifests itself as nervous energy, which is where the LEGOs come in.
Gayle placed bowls of LEGOs in each conference room in an effort to encourage positive creativity and calm nervous energy. These building blocks not only serve as an outlet for fidgeting hands, but they also bring back memories of the unrestricted creativity that built whole towns and cities when we were kids. No one was told why the LEGOs were put in the conference room, so the M-Team decided to turn the mystery into a team-building opportunity. Each person in the office was asked to guess why there were LEGOs in the conference room. Some people guessed correctly (or maybe they already knew the answer), while others had fun with it and came up with some amusing responses (we love how quirky our office is). Either way, the LEGOs got the office thinking creatively about the reason behind their presence in the conference room.
At the end of the week, I organized a team-building activity designed to reveal the true reason behind the LEGOs in the conference room while also bringing the L-Tron team together. The office was divided into two teams that were tasked with recreating a tower that was located in another room. One member from each group was allowed to see the tower at a time, then had to relay instructions about how to build what they saw in the other room. This exercise relied on effective communication and creative thinking in order to successfully recreate the tower. The L-Tron team really got into the activity and I even noticed some clever bending of the rules to accomplish the task. Not only was the team-building exercise a success, but the LEGOs have proven to be an effective relief from negative stress and a positive influence on creativity in the office.
No where on the box is there an age limit for playing with LEGOs. These multi-colored blocks not only built the foundation of our childhood, but they also helped cultivate our creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Not only have the LEGOs in the L-Tron conference room been a positive influence on the office, these building blocks have also served as a positive reminder to let go of the everyday stresses of life, find the joy in solving problems, and embrace the thrill of unrestricted creativity.