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The brick of it Civil servants played with Lego as part of €34k ‘problem-solving’ workshops

Lego building workshops are fashionable in the corporate world, with participants asked to build ‘symbolic or metaphorical’ models of the insights they gain during the training events.

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The Lego 'Serious Play Workshop' was just one of a host of events

The Lego 'Serious Play Workshop' was just one of a host of events

The Lego 'Serious Play Workshop' was just one of a host of events

A government department spent nearly €34,000 on an innovation week for civil servants, which included a Lego building event.

The outdoor Lego ‘Serious Play Workshop’ was held in an outdoor pavilion at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, with up to 16 participants attending two different sessions.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the “facilitated method” was designed for creative thinking and problem-solving of real issues and challenges.

Lego building workshops are fashionable in the corporate world, with participants asked to build ‘symbolic or metaphorical’ models of the insights they gain during the training events.

A brochure for the event said it would take place in a “large, heated and ventilated tent” with each participant provided with their own Lego for the event.

“This Lego Serious Play Workshop seeks to unleash the creative and playful side of public servants to solve our most pressing problems,” said a registration form.

The sessions were hosted by How Might We, which was paid €1,230 of the €33,926 total bill incurred by the department.

It was one of more than a dozen events run as part of the Department of Public Expenditure’s Innovation Week last November. The programme was hit by Covid restrictions.

Another workshop on storytelling for impact promised to help with communicating innovative ideas and getting support for them, no matter how difficult these might be.

A detailed log of expenditure shows that €16,435 was paid to MHL Event Management for its work on the programme of events. IMMA was paid just €61.50 for its part in the events with another €95.92 paid out to a catering firm.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure said the events were designed to encourage a culture of innovation, along with managed and calculated risk-taking among public servants.

“In instances where costs had to be incurred, public service procurement procedures were followed,” she said.

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