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Bricks as market research stepping stones.

Relevance of Lego® Serious Play® in Market Research.

More and more I try to use Lego® Serious Play® (hereafter referred to as LSP) as a tool to face and solve qualitative research challenges. This is my little story.

The value of Lego® Serious Play®

To me the key quality of LSP is that it allows and enables: exploration, deepening and alignment.

I’m used to work with LSP to unlock marketing, sales and HR … related topics; define the company DNA, improve process efficiency, strengthen a team, define and develop a customer delight program …

Every “Playshop” results in concrete, workable outcomes. It is always interesting to see the detail of the outcome, the mental processing that has been triggered, the individual and the group creativity that has been revealed. Abstract topics become tangible, concrete and conclusive.

(for those who are not really familiar with Lego® Serious Play®. It is literary, a hands-on tool based upon physical model building. Instead of talking the participant is challenged to build and to visualize what he/she is thinking, sensing … Only after the building, one will share and explain his/her model. More info on the internet or our MaResCon website )

The qualitative Market Research challenge

The ambition of qualitative market research is to take a deeper dive, to get under the skin, to explore the unrevealed. That’s what qualitative market research is standing for, that‘s our reason of existence.

We often use projective techniques (ID cards, cartoons, sentence completion, collages, me-centred maps, time machines, drawing …) for getting as close as possible to our ambitions. All projective techniques are useful and relevant.

Big challenge sometimes is to make sure the creative material, the context … is as similar as possible between groups to make sure outcome can be compared. And quiet often the outcome of these techniques depends partly upon the creativity and the ‘imagination’ of the participants.

Market Research with a Lego® Serious Play® touch

As the aim of market research is to explore, to deepen … it made me think, why not implementing this method in market research, as means to get closer to the consumer/customer...

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work for the European Union. Without going into too much detail the topic of the research: a project dedicated to youngsters, to bring EU and youngsters closer together. Ambition of the research: a kind of concept test: Understand how the project is perceived, how to make sure the project will be embraced by the target group and how to generate real impact.

There were two research entrees: a qualitative and a quantitative research module (in parallel).

The scope was Europe for the quantitative module (conducted by Indiville).

Lithuania, Portugal and Greece were within my qualitative scope.

In each country I conducted two focus groups with “Millennials”. One focus group with 18-24 and one group with 25-34 y.o. (gender mix).

And I implemented Lego® Serious Play® as a research tool to help me explore and understand how the youngsters perceived and valued the concept. LSP became a part of the toolkit to explore the given concept.

Playful depth and fun

Lego® Serious Play®

  • enabled, although the group setting, every participant to express profoundly and individually how he/she sensed the concept;

  • engaged and triggered every single participant to go beyond the (presumed) own creative limits;

  • gave us the opportunity to capture and collect all possible nuances in how the concept was perceived and understood;

  • helped us to put the finger on the grey zones of the concept, the confusion aspects …

​​No group bias as everyone is, when building, really into his/her own brick bubble. When sharing the model within the group it is the model that speaks. Every little piece of the model makes sense.

All participants (no differences in age and/or nationality) enjoyed this way of working and had a great time, not always conscious that, in a very playful way, they were really helping us to find our answers.

(To get familiar with the bricks we had some small skill building exercises in the beginning and we presented ourselves by building a model which expressed who we are)

Remarks and reflections

We must be aware that Using Lego® Serious Play® within market research requires extra handling of material. The logistics are a bit more challenging. And you need more and extra time. And one needs to be trained and formed as LSP facilitator.

Looking back to the groups I must admit that this method was probably too much just an injected, bit isolated module (out of a toolbox). It was put on the table, used for a specific moment and then we let it go. It was not the main driving engine to empower both group and individual creativity during the whole session.

So next time …

It is not my ambitions to transform every focus group into a LSP workshop, at the contrary.

But sometimes it might be very relevant to make LSP queen/king of the research, to think about workshops rather then discussion groups to unlock the research topic, using Lego® Serious Play® from the very beginning to the final end.

Lucky me I have the opportunity at me side!

For an open minded and creative client I will shortly use LSP to understand and to define what safety and security (for their customers) is all about. These are very subjective and elusive topics, thus a challenge it will be!

Via Lego® Serious Play® it is our ambitions to detect and understand all possible nuances, drivers, influencers of a (un)safe and (in)secure feeling/experience … and to make them ‘tangible’.

The sessions will help to develop a clear and to the point quantitative questionnaire.

I'll keep you posted!

Hope you enjoyed the reading. Liking, sharing, commenting ... everything is allowed :-)


About us

MaResCon Consulting was founded by Frank Geers in January 2012. After an active career of 21 years in marketing and market research, becoming an independent research consultant was the next logical step.

Qualitative Market Research is our core business.

From a market research perspective our promise is to think about the best possible research solution in a method independent way. All research approaches (online, offline, mobile,…) have their strengths and weaknesses. With every new project, we challenge ourselves to select the most appropriate and effective method and tools.

Contact details:

+32 497 523 528

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