Agency Life

Bonding over bricks

Bonding over bricks

Having worked to promote the ingenuity and fun-factor of the new LEGO Technic Volvo EW160E excavator, it was time for members of SE10's London office to put their money where their mouth is and have a go at assembling the model themselves. Here's what they learned.

Over the past three years SE10 has helped client Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) launch two major campaigns to promote its collaboration with fellow Scandinavian megabrand LEGO – first on a remote-controlled LEGO Technic Volvo L350F wheel loader and most recently on a Volvo EW160E excavator, also in the highly complex LEGO Technic range. Both models have proved an international hit, with fans young and old of these two well-beloved brands competing to see who can complete the miniature machines in the quickest time (around five hours so far).

Volvo CE kindly sent us one of the excavator kits to have a go at assembling ourselves as a thank you for our PR efforts and we could hardly wait to get started. While as a bustling communications agency we were unlikely to win any prizes for speedy construction, we did manage to complete the model in just over five weeks by taking a few moments out of our fast-paced schedule every few days to sit down quietly and have a play.

The power of play

The idea of SE10's PR consultants spending time assembling LEGO at work might seem strange at first but play in the workplace – as a means to help employees get their creative juices flowing – is an HR trend that is gaining currency all around the world. Since the tech companies of Silicon Valley began installing ping-pong tables in meeting rooms over five years ago, many of the world's biggest brands have turned their offices into veritable playgrounds with giant slides, miniature golf courses and ball pits. Another of our clients, Skyjack, a manufacturer of aerial work platforms, is even getting in on the act with its 'imaginarium', filled with games and puzzles designed to stimulate and stretch employees' minds.

While I can't say that building the LEGO Volvo EW160E has necessarily fueled our creativity at SE10 – and we're certainly not about to invest in ping-pong tables or the like any time soon either – it has helped us appreciate the design and construction of our client's machinery a little better. We write about excavator componentry almost every day – axles, transmissions, hydraulic cylinders and hoses – but the chance to actually assemble an excavator, albeit in a much simpler form, has enabled us to see for ourselves how all these vital elements combine to produce a mobile machine with a functioning boom and arm. It's a fascinating feat of engineering!

Moreover, turning our attention to a completely different kind of task at the end of a busy day has been a calming release of tension, especially in the run-up to Volvo CE's recent Xploration Forum press event. The LEGO instructions are well designed but definitely require some careful concentration and have challenged us to use our brains in new ways both individually and as a team. It has been fun to assign different roles – supply chain, assembly and product management – and establish a process for working together efficiently and in harmony. Hopefully the kind cooperation and team spirit we achieved in our mini excavator factory (a.k.a. the SE10 meeting room) will follow us to our regular work, helping us to deliver even better results for our clients. But if nothing else, we derived a lot of enjoyment from constructing this extremely cleverly-designed model and hope it's not too long before LEGO and Volvo CE come up with another. We'll be first in the queue!

It pays to be nice
Saving the planet, cinnamon swirl in hand

Related Posts