This blog post discusses the possibility of the IKEA LEGO sets for LEGO Serious Play. In 2018, IKEA and LEGO announced they were going to play together. This led to the development of the BYGGLEK LEGO collection, available exclusively at IKEA stores. This product range included a series of LEGO storage boxes and a set of 201 LEGO bricks designed for free play. As described by IKEA:
Creating more space for playIKEA website
The BYGGLEK LEGO® collection offers play storage solutions and a LEGO brick set unique to IKEA. The boxes easily find harmony with your home so the creations can be put on display, keeping the story alive until the next play time.
Having used LEGO Serious Play as an aspect of my research and work for some years, I’ve recently considered how the BYGGLEK LEGO collection can be used for LEGO Serious Play. Before I get into this, however, a brief introduction to LEGO Serious Play:
What is LEGO Serious Play?
If you’ve not used LEGO Serious Play before, it is a creative approach to meeting facilitation that uses LEGO bricks as a form of collaboration and communication. It has a track record of success across education and business – shaking up traditional meetings and learning opportunities with the use of LEGO. This has taken it beyond meetings and into the classroom and sphere of research.
Think about all the times you’ve set out Flipchart and pens – and most groups struggle to settle on a scribe – ‘You do it’ – ‘No! You!’. This doesn’t happen with LEGO Serious Play. Everyone is in! I’ve used LEGO Serious Play with participants of all ages for research, learning and business strategy purposes.
IKEA and LEGO Serious Play
So far, my LEGO Serious Play practice has focused on a large collection of bricks that all participants share. I blogged about the sets used to build my LEGO Serious Play collection, and since 2021, that collection has been the staple of my LEGO Serious Play kit. I’ve recently wanted to explore individual LEGO Serious Play kits so each participant has their own bricks. This can reduce the scrabble for bricks between participants and reduce much of the noise in the session (something some participants can find distracting).
There is also a potential for equity. One of the LEGO Serious Play practitioners I worked with insisted on participants having the same bricks. This raises the question – what bricks to use? My colleague went to a LEGO Store and used the Pick a Brick wall to build a collection of identical sets. This has always been too risky for my liking – too reliant on the store’s stock of bricks. It’s also a bit of an administrative hassle, especially if the store is busy. Then came the BYGGLEK LEGO Set:
Digging into the BYGGLEK set
This IKEA-exclusive LEGO set contains 201 bricks, including a brick remover. Within the set there are a range of plates, bricks, a door, some windows, a range of small bricks and enough parts for two Minifigures. As I’ve come to get to know this set in closer detail, I’ve become more convinced it’s a perfect range for LEGO Serious Play. It has a really nice range of bricks, allowing participants to communicate a whole range of ideas. So you can get an idea, I’ve laid out the bricks in this box below:
At 201 bricks, it feels a really nice size for individual use. I love the variety of bricks included in the set. There is a handful of regular bricks, but the body of the set includes a variety of brick colours and sizes. It has some nice, intricate details. I love the inclusion of some leaves and green elements alongside some food pieces, windows and a door.
Just the right size and configuration
This catalogue image gives you a good idea of the scale of the set – or the scale of the models that can be built with it. It isn’t enough LEGO to make the larger, more dramatic models – but it’s good enough for some detailed and intricate models (which is my favourite kind – every brick has meaning. The two Minifigures are nice and echo the days of plainer characters, a contrast to a lot of the licensed figures that dominate now.
While there is debate over using Minifigures for LEGO Serious Play, I’ve always included them in my sets. Yes – it can funnel participant responses around more concrete than the metaphorical use of LEGO, it can also enable the metaphorical messages. I’ve had too many participants wasting time building something to represent people or a person. Minifigures just cut straight to it! As mentioned above, the plainness of these figures also stops the message from getting conflated with a licensed character.
Keeping things tidy – the BYGGLEK Storage boxes
IKEA brought their famed trend to the BYGGLEK collection – flat-pack LEGO! Yes! They’ve managed to create flat-pack LEGO in a way only IKEA could. The BYGGLEK collection includes four different sizes of LEGO storage box. The two smaller sizes are fully assembled and come in a box of three (one small box, two extra small boxes). The two larger size boxes are the ones requiring assembly. It’s a tool-less construction, and the pieces click well together to create a solid box, perfect for storing LEGO. More importantly, the box lids double as LEGO base plates. The boxes themselves can also be used as part of the build, and the larger boxes have LEGO-compatible recesses.
So – back to LEGO Serious Play! The medium-size BYGGLEK box (26x18x12 cm) is great for storing those individual LEGO Serious Play kits. The BYGGLEK LEGO set fits within the box nicely and includes some nice LEGO-compatible studs that can be used in models. There is also enough space for digging through the pile of bricks to find what you need – within the box. The box itself can also be used as part of the models, of course. Unfortunately, the lid sits on top of the box – it doesn’t click securely. As such, I tend to use elastic bands to hold things together when I’m on the move. Not a great look – but it does the job.
Over to you!
I hope this post has been useful! Let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear if anyone else has used the IKEA + LEGO combination for LEGO Serious Play ????