Do you struggle explaining your work? What do you tell people when they ask? Or is that easy for you but the challenge is to hook potential clients or improve your simulation consulting skills? I found a really useful tool to all of these questions…

I am at a conference career fair to set up a stand for my employer decisionLab. Everybody tries to attract attention but the stand next to ours is way ahead of everyone. Sure, they got flyers, posters and pens. But it’s all pale compared to a Lego container ship the size of two shoe boxes. Nobody can walk past it without noticing. Everybody asks about it. Best of all: it already describes their company in a nutshell as they help logistics carriers improve their network. 

So I bought a small set of Lego and asked participants at a recent AnyLogic training course to build what they normally simulate. It was nice but I wanted more. I then asked my parents “Didn’t you store all my childhood Lego in the cellar?”. And they did. All of it. The image at the top is only a small part of it! Off I went to think about how to best use it as a simulation consultant.

After building, creating ideas and playing, here are some reasons why I think Lego can help you too in answering the questions above:

  • Attention seeker: If you need to promote yourself in any way, Lego is a perfect, cheap and easy way to set yourself apart from others. Plus, it helps start conversations really easy
  • Help explanations: Build a model of your work and you are already half-way there. See the models I built below: There is an engine repair workshop, a hospital and a little airport. How much easier is it to ease people into my work areas by showing them with these models. And its more fun, too!
  • For potential clients: Next time you visit a potential client to discuss work, why not take a bag of Lego with you, maybe with some pre-build items relating to your client? If you get serious and discuss model details, you can pull them up and play through ideas in reality. 
  • For existing clients: At the heart of consulting is understanding the client's world, right? Why not let him explain it with a Lego model instead of drawing on that flip chart again? As above, you can increase your understanding and explore ideas, avoiding lots of potential for misunderstanding!

Have you ever tried using Lego (or something similar) to move our virtual work into the real world? How did go? Do you have specific ideas to explain our work or concepts of it? Share your thoughts, I am just beginning to explore this world.

Oh, and by the way: I did get carried away a little and had to buy this beast. Not really related to simulation, but it sure is fun to build!