Storytelling is a fundamental part of being human. Stories let us share information in a way that cultivates emotion and sense of togetherness – a connection.
Parents tell stories to help their kids fall asleep at night, brands tell stories to build trust and connection with their audiences, and designers tell stories to create compelling experiences that resonate emotionally with their users.
As a Design Communication Manager in LEGO Design, I spend most of my days identifying, crafting, and telling our unique design stories, internally and to the world.
That’s because I’m part of the new LEGO Design & Innovation team; a small but ambitious team with a purpose to build, inspire, and enable a world-class LEGO Design force at our headquarters in Billund, Denmark.
When people ask me what that means, I like to say we enable people and teams to focus on doing their best work and design play experiences that change the world. In more specific terms, my team uses design thinking to enhance organizational culture, build diverse teams, improve tools and processes, enable learning and development, boost collaboration and teamwork, and create a sense of purpose and belonging.
At our core, LEGO Design & Innovation is focused on cultivating a thriving LEGO Design culture – and a great culture is built by stories.
Sharing our stories with the world
In LEGO Design – an international organization of about 400 creative people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences – there is always a story to tell. From our rich cultural history and humble small-town beginnings to our human-centered design perspectives and purpose-driven colleagues eager to make an impact.
One of the most exciting things about my role is that I get to seek out these stories and design strategies for how to share them in ways that resonate and provide meaning to our people and design teams, as well as potential future design talent (and the world).
Including an external focus to our mission reminds us that culture does not exist in isolation. And neither does design. Both are built on stories and develop through human connection and social interaction. And in order to build a thriving LEGO Design culture internally and continue to design play experiences that make an impact now and into the future, we need to also share our stories externally.
“Part of building and nurturing a world-class LEGO Design force, means being at the forefront of new design-thinking perspectives, building a global network within the design and innovation sectors, and engaging in meaningful conversations with diverse audiences of emerging design talent and creative leaders. To do that, we need to think differently about how and where we tell our brand stories, regularly exploring opportunities, channels, and platforms that enable us to reach and engage design audiences in new and innovative ways.” – Nanna Ulrich Gudum, Head of LEGO Design & Innovation, LEGO Design
Engaging new design audiences through partnerships
In today’s digitally driven, hyper-connected world, the opportunities, and channels for telling our design stories is endless. From social media platforms to local design communities, it can be challenging to know where to focus our energies to have the greatest impact.
Thinking about the audiences we want to reach helps guide our efforts and inspires us to focus on quality over quantity – establishing personal and authentic long-term relationships. Which is why we are exploring new partnership opportunities with organizations that are aligned with our company values and can help connect LEGO Design with new audiences and emerging design talent.
One of those partnerships is our engagement with the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and specifically the RSA Student Design Awards - a global competition for emerging designers that challenges students and recent graduates to tackle pressing social, environment, and economic issues through design thinking.
This year we are sponsoring a 2021-2022 Design Award and presenting a uniquely crafted design brief entitled “Press Play” that is focused on the theme of learning-through-play.
“Press Play” was developed in collaboration with my design colleagues at the LEGO Foundation and designed to encourage students to think of innovative design solutions to the challenge of bringing quality learning-through-play to more children and adults around the world.
“Entering into a partnership with the RSA Student Design Awards is an amazing opportunity for LEGO Design to build our organization’s identity and reputation with the design thinkers and change-makers of tomorrow. We are incredibly proud to be a sponsor and are excited to see the creativity and innovative design solutions students come up with.” – Poul Schou, Head of LEGO Design
Connecting through storytelling and design
This exciting new partnership gives LEGO Design a unique opportunity to amplify our design stories and perspectives, voice our design thought leadership, and share ideas we feel are important – like the power of design in business and as a tool for real change.
It also enables us to learn from the breadth and depth of fresh new design thinking and engage in meaningful conversations around the future of design and play, which we believe are essential in enabling design innovation and building a strong culture around a shared vision.
By sharing our perspectives and design stories through this partnership, we hope to grow and push our own design thinking mindsets, create a space for thoughtful dialogues around design and play, and establish genuine connections with diverse design audiences.
Most importantly, we hope to build a strong design culture through a shared story and inspire others to join us in our pursuit of bringing learning-through play to more children and adults around the world through human-centered design solutions.
It’s an incredibly exciting journey, and I can’t wait to see where our story goes from here.
Find out more about our RSA Student Design Awards partnership by visiting here → https://www.thersa.org/student-design-awards