A play workshop with Riot
I ran a workshop this week for the team at Riot Communications — they specialise in PR for the culture and entertainment sector (check them out, they do amazing stuff).
It was loads of fun.
It started terribly. I connected to the live stream a bit early, no-one was there so I wandered off. Came back facing away from the laptop, hitched up my jeans, then turned round to realise the whole team was there, and the only thing they had seen so far was my bum.
They were laughing.
At least the ice was broken… After that, my friend Adele Minchin introduced the rest of me, I talked a bit about what I do, then we got into what the session was all about.
Why it’s important and how to make space for it today when there’s so much urgent and important stuff that has to get done.
I showed what I’ve been doing with Griffics to talk about developing a playful mindset.
And then we made some stuff.
It worked great as a remote activity because the group was brought together around doing, sharing and laughing at what we’d all made.
I’m keen to do more in this vein as it seemed to go down really well.
At a time when life and work has become particularly serious, stressful and intense, here at Riot Communications we wanted to remind ourselves of the importance of play and give ourselves permission to play. Working in the creative industries, we know that being playful helps enormously with problem solving and idea generation. Sam shared his passion for play with us and gave us the tools, inspiration, enthusiasm and energy to be more playful. We would highly recommend Sam. We felt more energised, connected and purposeful at the end of his session and will definitely be taking his ideas for play forward into our work.
Adele Minchin, Director, Riot Communications
If it sounds of use to you and your organisation, give a shout.
Here’s a bit of detail on the making part of the session.
We made Open here’s. Playing with inside and outside.
We all drew the outsides first, then looked to create a surprise inside. This is one of many lovely ideas.
We then played Scrap world — where you find a scrap of something (the more abstract the better).
And then you draw out from that scrap, to turn it into something. Here a scrap from a cardboard box becomes a pirate on a ship.
I love this way of looking at creativity.
It shows that you can use anything and everything about you — as in improv ‘Everything is an offer’.
But the way in to that ocean of possibilities, the way to make it manageable, is to define games — simple rules within which to work.
And then play those games, exploring the space they open up.
At the end Adele asked the Riot team to look for opportunities to bring this playful mindset to their day-to-day work.
I think that’s possible by looking for opportunities to drop play into processes and workshops, to kick-start collaboration and idea generation.
But I also think it’s valuable to set aside time to just play.
Ten minutes a day to make, draw, write something.
Jerry Seinfeld used something similar when starting out in stand up. He would draw an X on his calendar every day after writing a funny line. Not a routine, not even a bit, just one line.
Setting a low bar is motivating, after a month you have a chain and you don’t want to break it. You also take advantage of compound interest, small deposits build, themes develop, deeper possibility surface.
Nick Asbury’s Real Time Notes is a great example of this. He’s written a poem every day for the last 1,000 days. It’s a wonderful and amazing body of work.
What space do you want to play in? What simple rules would you like to explore, stretch and break? Are you finding time to do so?