The answer to “how” is “play”

Playing is for most people a very effective way to learn, to discover, to connect and solve problems. I am a big fan of using play and playful elements in nearly all that I do – because it works as a catalyst for all I am trying to achieve in my work.
At the beginning of June, I attended my first ever face-to-face “open space” event, #play14 in Berlin, and it was a blast. What a wonderful way to learn and share, get inspired and mingle with interesting people! Back when I signed up, I thought I would be just a guest and then I ended up hosting three sessions. In just two days, we played more warm-up games and energizers than I could count. Those are very useful when facilitating groups and a couple of new riffs and ideas found their way into my repertoire.

My three sessions were centered around

  1. Moonshot, the innovation game – this is a great way to enable teams to think in new, different directions, to challenge each other playfully and become more creative
  2. Story cubes – they have been a favourite for me when it comes to getting people talking about present, past and future and I was wondering if there are other ways to use them and in the session we found a couple of wonderful additional uses.
  3. The Mind – this is a collaborative game for 2-4 people that is very special in that you have to completely tune-in to each other and complete a challenge without speaking. Some call it telepathy… I was intrigued and wanted to test it this can be used to facilitate teamwork. A colleague from Portugal was interested in testing the game as a way to reflect on dealing with setbacks and developing resilience. So we co-hosted the session and it was a beautiful experience, even the observers who did not get to play found it fascinating to watch.

And there were dozens of other sessions: Improv games, pen and paper role play as a team building accelerator, then one around Lego Serious Play, of course. We tamed werewolves, went on a mindful exploration walk in Görli park, dived into liberating structures, one session was about playing chess with different rules and sooo much more.

There is a plethora of big, shiny conferences going on at the moment, it feels like a lot of catching up has to be done on all that could not really take place for the past 2,5 years. Given the choice, I would always prefer the small, immersive events over the ones with grand stages and thousands of participants, because I personally get so much more out of the smaller setting.

Sending you playful greetings 😊🚀

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