Why innovation can’t do without PLAY

workshopfixadWe live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. And the rate of change is growing exponentially. The old ways of management by planning and control are no longer sufficient. A lot of organizations have a growing awareness of this and a growing feeling of unease about possible threads to the continuity of their business. It is clear that we need other skills and -mindsets to thrive in this VUCA world. Creativity, adaptivity, collaboration, experimentation, empowerment and courage to challenge the status quo to name a few.

So how might we shift organizational cultures from the old to the new?

I believe in “Being the change you want to see” (Ghandi). So being creative, adaptive, collaborative, curious, bold and courageous. But how do you do that…?

The good news is that we as humans already have these skills and mindsets needed. The only thing is that we have unlearned/covered them since our early childhood to adulthood. The answer lies in our ability to PLAY. Because when we PLAY…

  1. we don’t take ourselves too seriously and allow for mistakes to happen
  2. we learn by doing and reflecting upon our experience
  3. we are more creative
  4. we are in the present moment and able to make fast decisions
  5. we are more connected to others and build on each others ideas
  6. we are more courageous and daring to step out of our comfortzone
  7. we are engaged in what we do while having fun

So change and creating a culture of innovation can be surprisingly fun when we allow ourselves more playfulness in our workplaces and designprocesses.

Have a playful day!

About the author: Annemarie Steen is a key-note speaker, playful learning designer and facilitator for innovation and creative leadership in business schools and organizations world wide. You can connect to her via www.steentrain.com/contact

My personal experience doing a TEDx talk (in Dublin)

Annemarie Steen at TEDxTallaght

One day before my TED talk at TEDxTallaght in Dublin I was visiting a local pub. An alcoholic toothless guy (his name was Dan), came up to me and asked me “Where are you from?” And ofcourse I replied with “I’m from The Netherlands, I live in Eindhoven area”. And I asked him the same question: “Where are you from?” And his reply was: “Earth”. I laughed and we started talking. He said “the moment we say where we are from, we distinct ourselves from others, while the earth is such a tiny place in the total universe”. And I thought he’s absolutely right. We are all earthlings.

Last minute, I changed the start of my TED talk based on this idea and my starting sentence became: Hello, my fellow earthlings 😉

Later in our conversation he said: “So you PLAY with people all around the world, AND get paid for it? That sounds like the best job in the world!” And I replied with a big smile: YES!

My biggest fear was that my time (15 min) was too limited to tell my story AND get the audience up and invite them to leave their comfortzone (Play is something very scary for adults) and enter their playzone. Play is an experience product. I invited the audience to experience  5 different types of play; object play, imaginative/pretend play, movement play, creative play and social play. And looking at the faces…it went gr8! (pictures by @rocshot)

tedxtallaght

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Now, it’s waiting for the video to be released…(3-4 weeks).

If you want to have the first look…you’re welcome to follow/like myfacebookpage.

Wish you a playful day!

Annemarie Steen 🙂

Visualizing my ideas using fun software

I love to try and learn new things. So I tried this fun software Powtoon to visualize my ideas in a short animated videomessage. It was fun to do. I’m curious what you think of it.

 

Laughter is contagious

Video unavailable

What happens when a stranger starts laughing…
Watch this experiment at a tramstop in the Netherlands. Why not choose to be the one spreading laughter. Even a simple smile makes others feel better.

99 Tiny Games Project in London Brings Play to the Streeets

I wish more city’s would adopt this playful & fun concept.

Originally posted on Mental Flowers:

Sometimes we just need a little spark to get us to play.

In 2012, Hide&Seek installed 99 tiny games around London:

http://hideandseek.net/projects/99-tiny-games/

Tiny Games began life at the Southbank Centre in 2011 and are a collection of very small, very quick-to-understand games. They sit in the real world, inviting participation from any interested passer-by. Their rules can be summarised in just a couple of sentences.

In the spirit of the “big” games in London this summer, Hide & Seek created 99 wee-tiny games and stuck them all over the city, transforming buildings, sidewalks, tube stations and more into impromptu game sites. The rules are all quick and simple and each game takes almost no time to play – anyone can play, anytime they want. Players will be tested on everything from wits to creativity to cooperation to determination, all within immediate reach of their home, workplace, or favorite pub.

It’s great…

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Playfulness connects – Make new friends in a ballpit

Today I came across this short video (thanks @aikjeboukaert) from Soulpancake. I love this stuff. Why? Because it represents my vision: Playfulness connects. If you get total strangers (but also co-workers, friends, colleagues or family-members) in a playful state of mind…real heart-to-heart connection takes place. Watch and see for yourself!!

Playfully Yours,

Annemarie Steen

International Blowing Bubbles Day

Hi,

Two years ago, I came across a tweet that mentioned Internationalblowing bubble3Blowing Bubbles Day on May 6 (an initiative from a dutch artist Flip Looyen). I tought: “Hm, nice”, but went on with reading other stuff. That night I woke up, and felt the need to do something with it. I have a strong vision on the connecting power of Playfulness, so I thought to apply Blowing Bubbles to prove my point. I thought of a location where people are not connecting and decided on the bus/trainstation of Eindhoven (Netherlands) at 7am. Then, I sent out a tweet inviting others to join me on May 6th to Blow Bubbles on this location. And in case nobody showed up, I brought 83 sets of Blowing Bubble stuff (all I could find in my hometown of Veldhoven to hand out for free.

So what happened?

To my surprise, a lot of people reacted with fear (around 50%). Either not accepting my offer, or very fast putting their blowing bubble set in their bags with the excuse “nice for my kids”. Another large group of people (around 40%)held the blowing bubble set in their hands, not opening it, looking around what other people were doing. Some of them needed a little encouragement before trying. When they did (leave their comfortzone) they reacted with high energy. And there was a small group of people (around 10%) that immediately reacted with joy and started to play with it. Surprisingly a lot of people in function (railwaypolice officers, taxidrivers).

My (not validaded) conclusions after this experiment;

blowing bubbles1) YES, Playfulness connects. If you look at the picture, you see two guys playing and a third is watching them with a smile. There is a connection there.

2) Playfulness is something that a lot of adults perceive as scary, not done, childish, etc.

blowing bubbles23) While working (in stead of waiting) we tend to be more open towards strangers and like a Playful distraction/intermezzo.

My vision is still “Playfulness Connects”, but my mission after this day became “To invite adults to leave their comfortzone and dare to be Playful”

So what will you do on International Blowing Bubbles Day on May 6th 2013?

More info:http://www.internationalblowingbubblesday.wordpress.com

With playful greetings,

Annemarie Steen

(Dutch Newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad invited me to blog for a week about this International Blowing Bubbles Day two years ago: here’s the text in dutch:http://www.steentrain.nl/attachments/File/Blog_ED_Bellenblaasdag.pdf)

Carnaval; Feast of Playfulness.

Hi,
I just finished celebrating three days of Carnaval in Eindhoven (south of Holland). I always bring along my little friend ‘Snooze’ the monkey, who I fall in love with every carnaval, because of his funny face.

I can make him sing, dance and speak with my hand, but often it feels like he has a mind of his own. For me my monkey is my metaphor for celebrating carnaval. It’s a feast of playfulness and fun. Ofcourse there’s also a lot of alcohol involved, but I believe that’s because people like to loose some of their daily inhibitions. With carnaval I see a lot of people laugh, play, have fun, show their love and make connections to other people very easily. Playfulness opens up people. Playfulness connects. They allow themselves for a short time to be like children again. And that’s why I love carnaval. Also because it’s so closely connected to my daily work as a Playful Learning facilitator.

Snooze is taking a bath today. He can’t wait untill next year.

With Playful greetings,

Annemarie Steen

Wonderful pictures in Steve McCurry’s blog

Wonderful pictures in Steve McCurry’s blog of people Playing. Love it!

Originally posted on Steve McCurry’s Blog:

ETHIOPIA-10152

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

FIJI-10001

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a
tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
– Henri Matisse

TIBET-11024

The true object of all human life is play.
– G. K. Chesterton

CHINA-10140

 

AFGHN-10195

 

INDIA-11305

 

CAMBODIA-10118

Men do not quit playing because they grow old;
they grow old because they quit playing.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

TIBET-10799

 

INDIA-10801

Play is the exultation of the possible.
– Martin Buber

INDIA-10749

A child loves his play, not because it’s easy,
but because it’s hard.
– Benjamin Spock

MAURITANIA-10015NF2

People tend to forget that play is serious.
– David Hockney

AFGHN-12441

 

INDIA-10717

In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior.
In play it is as though he were a head taller…

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