Allstate Northern Ireland

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FROM PLAYROOM TO WORKPLACE —BUILDING SKILLS & COLLABORATION

Lego may be the bricks that colour childhoods across the world but they are making a move into the workplace with major international companies, such as Allstate, engaging Lego Serious Play (LSP) to enable a cultural shift within an organisation. Workshops are carried out in Belfast by The Insight Factory, which has more than ten years' experience in the discipline and is one of only three accredited LSP partners in the UK and Ireland.

Allstate Northern Ireland workers participate in Lego Serious Play.

Alan Branagh, owner of The Insight Factory, explains:

"Insurance software development company, Allstate Northern Ireland, recently took part in its first local LSP skill-building exercise at our premises with a view to enhancing collaboration within the company across its many international sites working in different time zones. LSP is designed to encourage maximum performance from all employees and enable a behavioural and cultural transformation through an imaginative interactive, learning process.

There's a myriad of skills that businessmen and women can develop from LSP. Lego is an excellent medium with multiple applications from which we can learn in a business environment. Allstate Northern Ireland employees are already prototyping, modelling and trialling products virtually so bringing them together to do it with a tool such as Lego makes bonds even stronger and skills even more finely-tuned.

When our hands are used in thinking, such as when we use Lego, a process takes place that generates a powerful, emotional charge. As a result, thoughts and ideas that are built with our hands tend to be expressed in greater detail. They are more easily understood and better remembered and the process can be applied to enhance performance areas within a business, such as innovation and collaboration. Cultures can often vary from team to team and when we are looking at divisions spread over the globe, this can become even more significant."

Andy Rebbeck, team leader in Allstate in Northern Ireland, adds:

"With offices in Belfast, Strabane and Londonderry, as well as headquarters in Chicago and sites across America, Allstate teams work together virtually on a frequent basis.

Programme architects, project managers and quality managers each lead separate, segmented teams contributing to our customers' products and their infrastructure. Each team has its own role, helping to build and mould the final products but as we are evolving and innovating we need each team to be able to bring even more to the table.

Our overarching goal from the LSP experience is to encourage and promote a spirit of collaborative skills across the company so that teams can work even more productively and efficiently. Through this experience we should be able to take dialogues to deeper levels and we see LSP as a catalyst which can enable us to progress and impart a change in ethos within our company on a multi-site basis."

Allstate invests heavily in staff and training and focuses greatly on innovation. Collaboration is a key process that, although vibrant within teams already, is an objective for the company.

Andy adds:

"To put it simply; we want to foster a change within the employee dynamic where they seek out collaborative opportunities as opposed to coming across them naturally. We have a multitude of talented people whose aptitudes can meld together to form something bigger than the sum of its parts. We want to develop the leaders of today and tomorrow that truly understand how collaboration can benefit our organisation.

When you look at what collaboration can achieve with Lego, the opportunities are endless. You may see a car; someone else may see a rocket—put these two people together and they may just create something beyond what they could have imagined when working individually. We realise what collaboration can do for our business and our biggest assets—our staff, and this is an excellent, fun way to develop skills, understanding and stronger teams."

Alan Branagh concludes:

"The success of IT companies, lies in their ability and desire to adapt, embrace and lead change in the digital world and we can offer them new tools for communication. Our aim is to develop the full potential of individuals and organisations through coaching and experiential learning. Our unique programmes including LSP have seen many companies go on to reap the benefits of our approach."

The Insight Factory's aim is that through Inner Game Coaching, LEGO SERIOUS PLAY® and High Performance Management the company enables an individual, teams and organisations to develop their full potential. For further information, please visit www.insightfactory.com.

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