LEGO Kits and Your Creative Soul | WBEZ
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Note to Self

LEGO Kits and Your Creative Soul

Should you take web development classes? Or poetry writing? Is it more important to think like an engineer, or an artist?

Turns out the answer may be be found... in a pile of LEGO.

The view from today:

— Note to Self (@NoteToSelf) August 18, 2015

Some people use LEGO to build creations of their wildest imaginations. Others meticulously recreate the picture on the back of the box. According to new research by business professors Page Moreau and Marit Gundersen Engset, there is a serious, meaningful, and potentially long-term difference between those who "free build," meaning they put the bricks together without a guide, and those who follow the instructions. In the lab, those who put together kits were less creative when they completed follow-up tasks. Researchers say instruction-following and free-building are two different "mindsets." 

The way we use LEGO provides the perfect window into a growing challenge we face: how to encourage creative thinking not just for children, but employees and businesses who always have to come up with the next big thing. 

So the kit vs. pile debate matters even for adults whose feet have never been wounded by a stray brick. You can prime yourself to think more creatively or more methodically by consciously choosing to create a meal from a kit, or free-styling with the spices in your kitchen. Or, you know, kicking a ball around with your kid instead of taking him to a two-hour practice.

In this week's episode:

And finally: fun facts! Since the Danish toymaker patented the blocks in 1958, the growth has been, in a word, explosive: the company estimates that on average, every person on Earth owns 86 blocks, and a computer says just six of those could be combined in 915,103,765 ways.

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LEGO Brain! (Ariana Tobin/Note to Self)

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