At the Institute of Imagination we’re so proud of our collaborations, they are an integral part of what we do. LEGO®, who we’re working with on RE:CODE London, is constantly building its community engagement initiatives. Let’s learn why they’re so vital with David Pallash, Senior Manager, Social Responsibility and Child Engagement at LEGO Group. We’re also excited to let you know that our partnership with LEGO® and the Mayor of London on RE:CODE London has been nominated for a Digital Leaders 100 Award – in the Cross-Sector Digital Collaboration of the Year category. You can vote for us until 11 May.
Throughout the years, with the help of our partners and thousands of volunteering LEGO employees, we engaged hundreds of thousands of children around the world, with fun and creative play experiences. Just in 2017, we’ve reached 400,000 children through our Local Community Engagement activities.
We have done this because we believe our biggest contribution to society are the LEGO products and experiences we make – as play is critical for children’s learning and development.
One recent example of how we try to inspire and engage kids is RE:CODE London, where together with our global public affairs team, we partnered with the Institute of Imagination and the Mayor of London to inspire young children to solve real-world city challenges through creative LEGO building and coding. And of course, it didn’t start here – this is one of the many examples, and opportunities are truly endless.
Within the LEGO Group’s Local Community Engagement programme, we value our play partnerships with various organisations immensely, and we put a lot of effort into findings the ones that share our values and passion of inspiring and developing children.
So, what are some of the key characteristics that set the course to a successful partnership for play?
1. Find the right match – but don’t rush it
While each LEGO Local Community Engagement portfolio is tailored for local context, needs and interests, we prioritize programmes that that have the greatest potential in unleashing the power of play.
It is only natural when you meet a like-minded organization or individual that you want to work together on something…and as fast as possible. Sometimes, good things do indeed come to those who wait. Simply put, it needs to be the right project and to leverage the core competencies of the parties involved. Pushing a collaboration can stifle innovation and co-creation and may also come across as forced, or even worse, inauthentic to those on the outside. Keep dialogue open, keep in touch, keep each other aware of what you are up to, and then an opportunity will arise.
2. Stay true to your values and aspirations – and don’t let ego block the way
Working with organizations that share similar values and aspirations is invaluable. Being value-driven, and living up to it, is what gives authenticity, keeps partners and employees motivated, and helps you break out of the clutter.
Something we try and bring out of our partnerships we establish within Local Community Engagement is the mutual playfulness. We all have it in us, it’s just a case of building a relationship and an environment – whether online or offline – where people are comfortable sharing playful ideas.
We have an expression within the LEGO Group, that one’s ego should never be put before the company (‘LEGO before Ego’). Egos have this debilitating quality. They hinder others’ sharing and they prevent openness. Leave egos at the door, align on values, embrace that playful side and let the good times roll.
3. Volunteers Unite!
It is quite common these days for many organizations to have some sort of volunteer scheme for their employees. Thousands of LEGO employees have volunteered within our local community initiatives, engaging children in playful learning.
We also like collaborating with people outside of the LEGO Group, who share that same energy and passion for learning through play.
So whenever possible, it’s fantastic to join efforts and build up that volunteer capacity for events, together with our Local Community Engagement partners. In the end, it means more children can be reached through our joint activities and that each child gets a more quality focused learning through play experience.
Uniting volunteers is also very beneficial for having joint training sessions in the lead up to any event, not only to ensure everyone is at the same starting point, but also to start creating a bond between people from the organizations involved.
More about the LEGO Local Community Engagement
Through the Local Community Engagement programme, the LEGO Group aims to play an active role in inspiring and developing children’s ability to learn through play, build employee engagement, and further demonstrate commitment to responsible corporate citizenship.
LEGO employees drive the programme through volunteer activities, which are supported both financially and through product donations by the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation. A network of Local Community Engagement consultants and employees around the world carefully select impactful child focused organisations in the communities where they live and work. We work with charity partners through a powerful combination of focused employee volunteering, coupled with targeted financial and product donations, to establish and maintain strong employee engagement and robust relationships. While each community portfolio is tailored for local context, needs and interests, we prioritise programmes that leverage the transformative power of learning through play.