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Building the future of Parliament … in Lego

March 20, 2009

On Wednesday afternoon, we ran a workshop in which potential first-time voters (also known as first-year University of Westminster media students) built visions of what a parliament of the future should be like. Rather than just discussing the topic, they created metaphorical models representing their ideas in Lego. This was an extension of my previous research using Lego, and collaboration with Lego Serious Play.

This particular workshop on parliamentary futures was in collaboration with the Hansard Society (“the UK’s leading independent, non-partisan political research and education charity”). They emailed asking if we might be able to gather together some students to do a conventional focus group … I replied asking if we could perhaps use different methods to explore the topic … and thus a collaboration was born.

This video shows the models built by the three groups, and then the model they ended up with when they combined their models into one:

The Lego method produced richer findings than I would expect to get from just a group discussion — and the students themselves, as well as the Hansard Society researchers, agreed that this seemed to be the case.

Key themes which emerged were:

  • Parliament should be transparent and open.
  • Parliament needs to communicate with the public, and needs innovative thinking about how to do this.
  • Parliament also needs to listen, and needs systems to capture the views of the public.
  • Parliament should be accessible, and politicians should be visible as members of the ‘real world’.
  • There should be a drive for consensus, rather than party-political battles.
  • Wisdom, integrity and trust are essential values.
  • Education about politics is vital. Participants said that school students should be educated about politics from an early age – even if they thought they didn’t want it at the time – as it was so important.
  • Overall participants wanted to feel more connected with politics, and to feel that politicians were responsive to their needs and interests. Communication, again, would be at the heart of this.

A very interesting three-hour workshop, which seemed to fly by!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 10:34 am

    I was one of the people who took part in the workshop. First I was very sceptical about the whole Lego approach but now I see myself defending it against friends (“I thought you went back to uni, not back to nursery school!”). Without Lego I’d probably still be sitting there, mired in endless discussions about politics, not getting to the point. The fact that you have to be able to present visible results (via Lego) forces you to abstract your thoughts to the essential. Maybe politicians themselves should work with Lego in favour of labour efficiency …

  2. Johnk510 permalink
    June 4, 2014 11:00 pm

    you use disallowed a designer to make the style? Superb vocation! eacddfekdbcd

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  1. David Gauntlett | Building the future of Parliament … in Lego

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