Supporting innovation processes using material artefacts: Comparing the use of LEGO bricks and moderation cards as boundary objects

L. Zenk, N. Hynek, S.A. Krawinkler, M.F. Peschl, Günther Schreder

Various collaborative innovation methods are increasingly used in strategy development and the implementation of organizational challenges. The aim of applying them is to involve different agents of an organization and support them in generating new ideas in a joint effort. For this research, an experimental field study was conducted in the course of an innovation workshop for 80 top managers in the public sector using a quantitative questionnaire and an ethnographic observation. A novel workshop format was designed using different materials to support the beginning of this innovation process. The groups used either traditional workshop materials, that is, moderation cards (small sheets of colored paper), or novel workshop materials, that is, LEGO bricks. Our results show that both materials significantly influenced the human experience in the workshop. The use of LEGO bricks was perceived as more enjoyable, active, and inspiring than the use of moderation cards. However, the perceived group outcome using moderation cards was rated higher than that working with LEGO bricks. We discuss how using novel workshop materials changes the experience of an innovation workshop, but we also highlight that additional factors, including translation effects, trained facilitators, and specific innovation phases, must be considered to outperform the use of traditional materials.

Vienna Cognitive Science Hub, Department of Philosophy
External organisation(s)
Donau-Universität Krems, FH Campus Wien
Creativity and Innovation Management
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
501030 Cognitive science, 502014 Innovation research
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