Rebuild the World: What LEGO Systems Mean for Children’s Futures

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LEGO Education: Rebuild The World
LEGO Education: Rebuild The World

Rebuild the World. By now, you’ve most likely seen the new ad. If not, you can watch all it’s splendor and glory on YouTube. Understanding LEGO’s new campaign, to a certain extent, requires understanding LEGO’s history. When LEGO Education invited me to Billund, Denmark for the new campaign’s announcement, I said “YES!” We’ve always been a LEGO family, and I’ve loved LEGO Education since I met them in NYC back in 2017. However, after visiting LEGO’s birthplace, I better understand the company’s commitment to children and reaffirmed my commitment to support LEGO’s products.

What is “Rebuild the World”?

Rebuild the World is a new ad campaign focused on helping children “build” their creativity. At its core, Rebuild the World is about retooling the way we view education and learning—as parents, teachers, administrators, and governments.

At first glance, “Rebuild the World” almost drips with hubris. A single toy company looking to change the way kids play and learn. A toy company thinks it has the power to shift ingrained social and cultural beliefs about skills and play. The lofty goal seems, well, a bit “too much.”

However, if we look at the research, we need to ask ourselves: if not LEGO, then who?

65% of jobs that we train our kindergartners for today won’t exist by the time they’re ready to join the workforce.

47% of students say that they won’t try something again if they’ve already failed once.

51% of students say that they feel nervous about trying something new.

The education we’re providing our kids—one that will be outdated in the workforce before they arrive in it—will doom our kids to failure. Our children, the ones too afraid to try something new because they fear failure, will be joining a workforce consisting of only new things. Whether they freeze or find themselves riddled with anxiety, the outcome looks bleak.

So, is LEGO suggesting that it, alone, can change things? Perhaps, in part. However, who else can take up the mantle? Governments continue to fail students. Educators, internationally, find themselves unable to meet the increasing demands placed on them. Parents are overwhelmed, overburdened, and over-scheduled. As adults continue to look for a way around the problem, LEGO is seeking to create a way through the problem.

As part of the Rebuild the World initiative, LEGO held a panel discussion on creativity.

 

What is the Industrial Revolutions 4.0?

According to the World Economic Forum, the Industrial Revolution 4.0 fundamentally changes the way we live, work, and interact based on technological advances that merge physical, digital, and biological worlds. The speed, breadth, and depth of technological changes shift the ways in which we countries develop, businesses create value, and people interact.

For our children, this means that we need to shift our own thinking as adults. The world we know today won’t exist for our children tomorrow. A recent article by the World Economic Forum suggests that automation has the potential to increase the number of jobs while changing the skills necessary to do those jobs.

Why LEGO?

Why not LEGO? LEGO systems are one of the few cross-cultural toys available. Go to any country, any school, any playground—say the word “LEGO” and kids know what you mean, in any language.

At its core, LEGO’s corporate culture focuses on play as integral to children’s ability to learn. Whether we’re talking LEGO Education or LEGO Retail, the company values creativity as the foundation for analysis, comprehension, and “stickiness.” In teaching, “stickiness” often refers to how well kids remember things they’ve learned.

How does Rebuild the World help my child?

That’s the great question for all of us, right? After all, as parents, we want to do more than simply buy a toy. We want to know that somehow there’s a way for us to supplement the education they receive at school. So, let’s take a look at some of the core values of “Rebuild the World.”

Cooperation/Collaboration

The modern world is one in which people need to work together to ensure continued success. In the workforce, it’s the idea of working towards a common corporate goal such as increasing revenue or decreasing operational costs.

For kids, the same applies. Kids need to build social skills, or “soft skills,” to be competitive in a modern workforce. For example, kids need to learn skills like handling constructive criticism, communicating, dealing with differences, and leadership.

Whether at home or through the LEGO Education programs, parents and adults can teach children how to work together using LEGO systems. I know that for our family, building LEGO sets is a bonding experience. Whether one of us is building the set while the other is the “piece finder” or we’re sitting around creating our own constructions, we’re working together, sharing ideas, and talking.

Creativity

One of the stumbling blocks we have in education lies in the inability to view creativity as anything other than artistic. We look at creativity in a particularly binary way. You’re either good at story writing, music and/or art, thus a creative, or you’re not.

In reality, creativity is a part of everything we do. I don’t generally consider myself a “creative.” I’m a writer, yes, but I’m an analytical writer. However, my success as a writer comes from using the creative side of myself. Making connections between seemingly dissimilar ideas is a creative skill. Being able to focus research, learn something new, and apply the new information is a creative skill. For example, I’ve written a lot about how we should be applying environmental sustainability to IT security. While the two seem dissimilar, they can be connected when you use your creativity and ability to communicate clearly.

LEGO systems and sets promote creativity. Children play with LEGO systems and sets in their own unique ways. Whether creating their own constructions or playing with the sets afterward to create stories with minifigures, LEGO systems inspire creativity at all levels.

Resiliency

As someone who works in information technology, I often discuss the concept of resiliency from a business perspective. If a company experiences a data breach, they need to respond rapidly and recover. Business continuity relies on resiliency plans.

In the same way, we need to teach our children how to overcome failure. Internationally, children fear failure and refuse to take risks. Cognitive risk taking and the ability to overcome failure is a skill that we, as parents, often try to shield our from. How many parents call teachers or do more of their children’s homework than they should in order to prevent their kids from failing?

LEGO systems and sets enable kids to be resilient. We all know, as my kiddo recently told me, that “LEGOs are meant to be broken.” By definition, LEGO systems and sets reinforce resiliency. Children can take them apart and remake them. They can learn that it’s ok to mis-read the directions because you can always go back and look for the mistake then fix it.

Why do we need to Rebuild the World?

Every day, we read new research about the ways in which systems fail our kids. The education system, the legislative system, the judicial system—all of these are failing our children.

However, one system isn’t failing our children. One system is helping us overcome the systemic issues that continue to create barriers to our children’s success. LEGO systems.

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