The LEGO System as a Tool for Thinking, Creativity, and Changing the World
This essay looks at LEGO as a tool for supporting creative thinking, developing creative cultures, and contributing to processes which might make a difference in how the world works. My thoughts about these ambitious themes are not plucked from nowhere, nor are they those of a passive observer, but they might be treated cautiously for a different reason, because they draw upon my experience of several years of close collaboration with the LEGO Group in Billund, Denmark. I am an academic, a Professor in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster in London, UK, but this means I have also-very happily, for me-been able to work with LEGO on a number of projects, as part of their ongoing collaboration with selected academic researchers. From 2005, I worked with the LEGO Group on the development of the consultancy process, LEGO Serious Play, and since 2008, I have worked with the LEGO Learning Institute and the LEGO Foundation exploring play, creativity, and learning. 1
In this essay, I will begin by considering the LEGO System, and its reach as a cultural system. Then I will look at LEGO as a tool to support thinking and collaboration. I will introduce a model of creative cultures, which will be applied to LEGO communities, and then maker culture more generally, and consider how individual imagination and collaborative creativity can work together. Finally, I will consider some ways in which LEGO products and communities might be said-as in the title of this chapter-to be “changing the world”.