This article was first published in COCOONERS N.9 by Juego Serio, one of the most relevant references in the world in the field of Serious Games with which we share the pleasure of bringing playful experiences to people and organizations.
Serious Play gives the opportunity to experience a lot, to make mistakes and to learn. “Play is the highest form of research” — Einstein.
Playing is the same as trying without fear of making a mistake, it is learning by doing, exploring, it is having fun with others, it is allowing yourself to be someone else and finding yourself again, without fear of being judged.
But playing seriously also implies giving a framework with rules, so that it is fair and so that everyone has the same opportunities. It is the practice closest to democracy.
To play seriously is to make sure that everyone can express what they think and feel about an issue or problem. No one judges, criticizes, or can impose his opinion on others.
When we play, we enter more quickly in Flow, in the zone of the optimal experience, because we are faced with challenges whose level of difficulty challenges us but their execution does not frustrate us.
By playing we show ourselves as we are, without masks, because we connect with our emotions in a different way. When we play we use our diverse intelligences, imaginations and body parts. When you connect with emotion, you feel vulnerable and you generate empathy in others.
Playing seriously extracts your essence and lets out the best part of people, their humanity.
I feel part of Cocoon’s family, as I met my soul brother Stelio, twins from different mothers separated at birth and reunited thanks to the Serious Play, in 2013. That’s where the adventure of the lonely guys began… Because, “an expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a narrow field.” (N. Bohr). And I think that in part, what brought us together was repeated failure and not success. So Cocoon was born out of a failure and Juego Serio™ out of several failures.
Playing seriously, like agility, is about failing quickly in order to learn and doing better the next time. You do not know that repeated failure will lead you to success at the end of the road…because as S. Jobs said: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
This is what happens when you play seriously, you do not know that there is a beginning and an end, the path, depends on the decisions you make during the process. You can make them without fear of making a mistake, because you know that you are playing, that you are allowed to make mistakes and learn, like in the film Groundhog Day.
We play seriously to help people and organizations to strategize in real time, to define how to go from point A to point B, to make better decisions after testing them by playing and analyzing their impact. To think about the future by playing what could happen and preparing for what we want to happen. And you…. are you mature enough to play seriously?
As a facilitator “I prefer to start fires than to fill bottles” (A. Cornella). Because I prefer to challenge with my questions and provoke with my actions, to capture the participant’s attention and drive it towards knowledge and deep understanding of their identity. For in real life, “You will not be remembered for your resume, but for your attitudes” (V. Kuppers), and for your operational reputation, your concrete achievements.
It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me (Batman/Bruce Wayne).
COCOONERS is our half-yearly publication, printed out in a very limited number of (recycled-paper) copies, and released in digital version. You can read more about it here: https://cocoon-pro.com/cocooners/