Where to start with Playmaking?

Playmaking is a great tool for problem solving. By adopting a playful mindset, we set aside our inhibitions and make room for creativity and innovation. Ezra Pound, a famous American poet once said, great poetry “makes things new”. By that he meant, showing people the hidden quality of common-place things. Funnily enough, this is exactly what Playmaking can help us do, too. It’s not always as succinct or elegant, but it’s a lot of fun!

Can you give me a concrete example?

Sure. One of my goals is to grow the local Agile community at work. We’ve been running “The Agile Experience” – an internal introductory course to Agile and Scrum on a monthly basis. Based on participant feedback, the course is a success. (Otherwise we would have stopped running it long ago and would be doing something else instead!)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

How do we know the course is a success? For every course instance we run, at least one participant finds themselves bursting to tell us the same thing, “This is the best course I’ve ever been to. It’s practical, energetic and fun. Most important of all, the simulation is just like real life!”

The participants are referring to our home-grown handmade training course featuring the Scrum version of The Original XP Game created by two legendary Playmakers Pascal Van Cauwenberghe and Vera Peeters.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is how to leverage the shared learning experience from the courses we run in order to create a community that thrives and endures.

That’s where Playmaking comes in. Playmaking is founded on the 3 values closest to my own heart: Fun, Heart and Achievement.

If all this sounds like “innocent wonderment”, that’s because it is, although some people mistake it for naivete.

Alright already – so what’s the deal?

My answer is “Dear Santa”, of course! I’m sorry, did you say “Santa”? Yes, I did! What better time to practice Playmaking then during the jolly season of Christmas?

The Event
Dear Santa – The Agile Experience Alumni Gathering

Hear ye! Hear ye!
Calling all alumni from The Agile Experience. You’re cordially invited to witness, present and play at this exclusive event, run by participants, for participants.

The Challenge
You’ve attended the course. You’ve tried out a few things. Here’s your chance to share your experiences and progress to date. We can to hear the Good, the Bad and most definitely the Ugly.

The Format
Each presenter will have 5 minutes to share their story in which you’ll answer the following 3 questions:

  1. What did you learn from the course?
  2. How did you apply it?
  3. What were the outcomes and benefits?

The audience will have 2 minutes to ask questions. Each story is in the form of a classic Lightning Talk (inspired by my friend and colleague Sandro Mancuso, co-founder of the London Software Craftmanship Community)!

How can you be sure it’ll work?

Based on my knowledge and experience gained from all the fools’ experiments I carry out in the footsteps of Darwin. I’m happy to play the fool and learn lots as a result. There’ll be mince pies and fresh Belgian chocolates, too. What better time to make play than the festive season I say.

How can you apply Playmaking to your work today?

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What is Playmaking?

Playmaking is the act of transforming work through play. It’s play with a purpose, what I call “Deliberate Play”. It’s a simple idea that requires a desire for fun, great courage and respect for people.

Why is Playmaking important?

We have an emergency on our hands. Many of us suffer from a “play deficit”. Just as a vitamin C deficiency can have a wide-reaching impact on our overall well-being, so can a deficiency in play. The latest research by neuroscientists, biologists, psychologists, social scientists and many others show that Play isn’t only essential for human development, but crucial to our survival.

According to Dr Stuart Brown, author of “Play”, Play leads to creativity and innovation which, in turn, leads to invention and growth. Likewise, Work can lead to creativity and innovation. In addition, Work gives us a sense of purpose and helps us develop competence.

Surprise! Work isn’t the opposite of Play

So if Work isn’t the opposite of Play, what is? There is a growing consensus that the opposite Play is Depression. Now there’s a scary thought. But don’t worry, Sleeping Beauty. Treat this as an alarm call and start creating more opportunities to play at work today.

Practice Play little and often

Be wise in how you invest your time and remember: Take your Recommended Daily Amount of Play. Play once a day to keep the doctor and priest away!

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Welcome Playmakers!

The Power of Play – Making Good Teams Great 

Following the success of introducing the concept of Playmaking into the workplace at this year’s Oredev in Malmö, Sweden, this marks the start of a movement for incorporating more play into our daily work.
View more presentations by me on Slideshare. Full speaker notes are visible when presentations are viewed in Slideshare. Or download the presentation. and play. Happy Playmaking!
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