Optical/IP Networks

Alcatel and Nokia Bricking It

Even in the toughest of times it seems some companies will pay mega daily rates for nearly anything management consultants put in front of them.

The latest wheeze is to get executives to play with some Legos for a day in an effort to understand their roles and explore their psyches, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Useful, you might think -- especially if your role involves building castles, moon bases, or undersea kingdoms, and peopling them with tiny, plastic people with snap-on hair.

(In fact, before this, we would have thought plastic hair was as close as some executives have ever got to Lego, as we could have sworn that some of those rugs were snap-on.) But no, apparently, more than 500 executives have experienced the Lego "Serious Play" workshops run by consultants specially trained by Executive Discovery LLC, an "independent company associated with" the Lego Group. Given that Executive Discovery charges $3,000 for a 6,500-brick package and $5,000 to train each consultant, the fees to the end users are probably not insignificant. (Heck, they could have picked up the Jedi Starfighter kit for $19.99.)

So which companies would be fool enough to spend their time and money playing with kids' bricks? Step forward, Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). The mind Boggles (geddit?) as to what the managers from Paris and Espoo might have stuck together, and indeed what the 6,500-brick package might include, given that the Executive Discovery Website reminds us that "LEGO, the knob, and the brick configurations are trademarks of the LEGO Group."

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
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