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From idea to design: A practitioners innovation program

Last year, the dreadful 2020, although full of uncertainty, for us was a chance to bring some light to our community with quality webinars, hosting some of the best practitioners in the world to discuss innovation.

One of those practitioners is Mohamad Mahdi, a certified Playing Lean facilitator and a certified LEGO Serious Play facilitator, who strongly believes in the concept of learning by playing.

He has been holding Playing Lean workshops for years, making it an important tool in teaching innovation to hundreds of his clients. After seeing their struggle and hearing requests from his clients to find solutions for them, he saw that you can benefit more from Playing Lean by including it into your own custom teaching program.

That is why he created his own teaching program, introducing innovation to people and teaching them how to use innovation in order to create solutions to the problems they face.

By implementing this program, he wants to lead his clients through a real innovation inside their company and make it practicable for them. But many have a different understanding about what innovation is and how to implement it.

The definition he likes and how he explains innovation to his clients is:

Executing an idea which addresses a specific challenge and achieves value for both the company and customer.

Some people confuse innovation with creativity. While creativity focuses solely on ideas without practical implementation in a real business, innovation is tangible and could be implemented and presented to people and gain some value.

To create his teaching program, he used build-measure-learn to test and see what will bring the most value to companies looking for solutions.

Creative Partner's Innovation course is a set of 4 workshops:


Systematic Creativity

This 4-hour long workshop was designed based on the article Defining Systematic Creativity published by The LEGO Foundation.

Systematic Creativity is about using logic and reasoning along with playfulness to generate ideas that are valuable.

With this workshop he explains the nature of creativity, the types of creativity, what is the creative process and what is the role of systems in creativity.

It will also teach you that creativity is under your control and that you can work on it.


Playing Lean Workshop

He divided this workshop into two 4-hour game sessions using Playing Lean 1 and Playing Lean 2.

As an experienced Playing Lean Facilitator he has adapted the game to maximise learning, and with new rules he can control the learning curve, and the understanding of the concepts the game teaches. This creates a deeper learning after playing both versions of the game.

First he uses Playing Lean 1 that has 4 variables that the participants can control and go to global market with: building the product/features, going to classes to build the company (a rule he introduced), doing market research and selling.

After this workshop many of the teams that lost want to play again and test their assumptions to see if they'll win by going to market with a different approach.

Then he introduces Playing Lean 2, whose company building mechanics are different and adds new rules.

In the real world, you have both company building and the option of recruitment. With Playing Lean 1 you get a deeper understanding of company building, and in Playing Lean 2 he shows them that you can bring new employees to your company to make some jobs easier.

With Playing Lean the participants get a full experience of starting/running a business, without having to risk anything, and learn the main concepts that will stick and be valuable later in the program.

With the help of both games, he explains the Lean Canvas, which is an introduction to learning for the next stage of the teaching program.


Lean Canvas

This workshop is designed on the concept of The Lean Canvas Business Model designed by Ash Maurya. The 8-hour long workshop uses the LEGO Serious Play Method.

In this workshop the participants build a business model, and will learn how to ask questions, because LEGO Serious Play is focused on building models instead of answers.


To build an idea, you need to build a business model first. During building the business model many of the participants understand that the idea they have is not working because they don't have a good unique value proposition.

They may understand that their idea has some problems and weaknesses in the value proposition. Sometimes there is no interest in the market segmentation for this problem.

When the group he's holding this workshop for is from one company, then they can find some real ideas and build a business model for them, and understand if it will work or not.

At the end they find a good business model for a new service or product that makes sense. With this workshop they can bring innovation into their company.


Service Design Workshop

Service design is a method for designing experiences that reach people through many different touch-points, and that happens over time.

He created this workshop in 2015 and presented it at the annual LEGO Serious Play conference. The reference for creating this workshop was the Service Design Toolkit by Namahn, and This is Design Service Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schnedier.

In this 4-day workshop, he uses different methods to implement all service design levels.

Each of the 4 levels is an 8-hour challenge in itself.

A) Pose the question, service challenge

B) Persona

C) Ideation and design

D) Scenario play and test

This workshop needs a focused team with a special service/product target to implement.

After 3 days you will have the full design of the user and service provider journey. At day 5 you finish off by playing scenarios with elected personas to see the effects on the system and get feedback from the system.

With Creative Partner's Innovation course you go from exploring creativity and learning, to experiencing how it is to run a business by simulating, to building a business model for your idea, and finally to designing and delivering a new service with all elements of the real world.

When we held this webinar we hoped it would inspire other coaches around the world to create their own innovation program using games as a way to teach sometimes hard to understand concepts. The time of PowerPoint presentation workshops is over and outdated.

The success of a workshop lies in getting participants to learn, experience and take action. Only then the lessons they take away will truly bring innovation into their organization.

If you want to play Playing Lean and see why it’s one of the best tools for facilitators, coaches and consultants around the world, join us on 15th June 2021 for a remote (online) Playing Lean workshop

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