The Design of Experience: Fun

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Thanks first of all to Margaret Benefiel of Executive Soul for turning me on to this video.  It times beautifully with a lot of thinking, writing, and experimenting we’ve been doing here at IISC about/with the power of design, and specifically the design of experiences that can change behavior and bring out the best in individuals and groups.  Check out this clip from The Fun Theory, an initiative of Volkswagen, that aims to show that fun is one of the best ways to change behavior for the better.

In the collaborative leadership trainings we do, inevitably we get to a point where people talk about the dry, frustrating, “deadening” and even pointless meetings and gatherings they often attend.  Many are at a loss for what to do.  One response on my part is to ask, “What has brought you to life at meetings that have been particularly engaging?”  And when the answer comes, to say, “Do that!”  If it brings us to life, there is a good chance it will do the same for others.  To paraphrase innovation guru Marty Neumeier, in order to “focus minds and intoxicate hearts” many more of us will need to think and act like (process and experience) designers.  So what are you doing to throw a little fun into the mix?

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  • Gibran says:

    I love it Curtis! I’ve also heard network pros like Bill Traynor name as the number one rule of building networks “Have Fun!” seriously! But to answer your question, I just designed a two day retreat that will literally start with the practice of “Laughter Yoga”

  • Curtis says:

    Love the idea of starting with “Laughter Yoga”! We just had a good conversation in our current Facilitative Leadership training about the serious role of fun and games in group work. This was spurred on by a comment from a participant that while the games were fun, people wanted to get to the substantive content (which we did get to, by the way). And what I said, was that there is lots of research that suggests that “playful spaces” can give birth to innovation (think improv groups and jazz troupes), as well as long-term commitment. This ties to the concept of “positivity” I blogged about the other day – http://interactioninstitute.org/blog/2009/10/22/accentuate-the-positivity/#more-1365. Play might trip that complex chaotic attractor!

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