From Plastic to Pixels, Hand Knowledge to High Touch: A Comparative Study of LEGO Serious Play™ & Prelude Suite™

plastic to pixels


This Working Paper examines intriguing parallels between two complementary methodologies, LEGO Serious Play™ (LSP) and the Prelude Suite™ (Prelude). The former is employed with teams in traditional co-located environments. The latter is employed with remote distributed teams and/or hybrid teams.

Both resources are compared in several areas. In most there is clear alignment in concepts and practice. The reason is that the Prelude Suite™, like LSP, also employs a constructivist model of experiential team learning.

Comparative Examples

Consider, for example, the concept of ‘hand knowledge’. This is a core LSP principle. It’s defined by the idea of human hands manipulating colored 3D plastic bricks to co-construct meaningful 3D models.

Working with the Prelude Suite™ illustrates that hand knowledge today encompasses much more experiential bandwidth due to enabling technology.

As such, Prelude participants use digital pixels like “bricks”. Like 3D bricks, pixels are also colored geometric units used to co-construct strategic meaning and models. Similarly, a Prelude team’s workshop table is an interactive whiteboard.

Here is where remote teams co-construct symbolic artifacts and shared meaning simultaneously. These remote teammates, like another LSP core concept, also “Lean In’ virtually as they see their own creative thinking and actions unfold together synchronously via multiple audio video windows. Hand knowledge leads to high touch in a high tech cyber space.

Ultimately, these two highly complementary, innovative methodologies share an unstated Meta goal. That is to inspire humans to construct better futures together using all building blocks of imagination available including: LEGO bricks, pixels, atoms, cells, qubits, or whatever may be at hand.


Both LEGO Serious Play™ and the Prelude Suite™ have a similar genesis but separate roots. This goes back to 2000 when both respective creators of these methodologies, unknown to the other, began conducting separate original research on imagination.


Your feedback is welcome and needed. It will contribute to further iterations of this Working Paper. Please contact us at


LSP Certified Agile Coaches and other professionals seeking an equivalent resource for use with distributed teams are invited to experiment with the Prelude Suite™. Please contact us at


The attached Table compares LEGO Serious Play™ and the Prelude Suite™ in several key areas. Content featured in the left hand column are direct quotations from the “Building a Better Business: Using The LEGO® Serious Play® Method” (2014) or other specifically referenced material. Content featured in the right hand column is drawn from Prelude Suite™ case studies, testimonials, original research, etc.

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Howard Esbin, PhDFrom Plastic to Pixels, Hand Knowledge to High Touch: A Comparative Study of LEGO Serious Play™ & Prelude Suite™