Monthly Archives: April 2012

Using Blocks for Corporate Problem Solving

Using Legos for 3-D graphing

Companies like GM are using Legos to visualize production problems.

“We discussed … our frustrations with some of our reports not showing us what we really needed to see,” Dennis Pastor writes Co.Design.  We came to the conclusion that our processes were 3-dimensional but our reports were only 2-dimensional. We needed to see them 3-D; hand sketches were exchanged over the weekend and within the following week, GM had the first LEGO prototype in use. But beyond their transparency, there may be a bigger advantage to Legos: they’re also fun. By mapping real world problems to an icon of our youth, each challenge must be approached with an inherent playfulness. And because Legos are, by their very nature, expected to be rebuilt, patterns don’t appear stuck in stone–or just as bad–printed in ink. Now, if only we could get the Lego pirate ship or a lunar rover in the mix, we’d really have something.”

This is the second article that talks about the use of Legos as a tool/toy for adults to represent ideas in a three-dimensional form and, to have “fun” in the process. We know that children use all blocks in the same way – to visualize, test and retest ideas since the flexibility of blocks allows them to knock them down and rebuild again. It is curious that Pastor wants to add the Lego pirate ship or the lunar rover which seems to be the opposite idea of the non-representational, open-ended, and therefore, flexible nature of the Lego brick and, of blocks in general.

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Blocks, Imaginary Characters and Lego

When children make up narratives during their block play without the
availability of toy people or animals, they will create their characters
using blocks and construction parts. It is interesting to see what colors
and shapes they feel correspond to the features of their imaginary

In a similar imaginative act, these Lego design ads use non-representational
forms to create a character. They have taken one or two salient features of
these cartoon characters and through a choice of a specific color or size
relationship, they have represented them with Lego bricks.

Minimalist Lego cartoon figures

Ad Campaign for Lego by German Advertising Agency Jung von Matt

“It’s a series of minimalist Lego designs based upon some of our most
beloved cartoon characters. From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to The
Smurfs, to The Simpsons, to the kids from South Park…
Through the simplest of visual cues, the ads find the perfect balance of
implying so the viewer can infer.”


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Groundscraper- Architecture Underground

What is the opposite of a skyscraper? Check out this “groundscraper”, a luxury hotel planned for construction in an abandoned quarry in Shanghai.

This rendering of this proposed five star underground hotel could provoke some curious ideas for building an underground structure in the sandbox or on the edge of a puddle or pond.

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Noisy Jelly Shapes

jelly blocksThis noisy chemistry lab is a a curious melding of building, sound color and shape. Observe these children constructing in a new medium. They are even stacking these jelly blocks.

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