Category Archives: Play

Embodied, theatre, movement, dance, nonverbal, music dialogues

Grounding Practices that Enable Emergence in Dialogue | DwD 11.08.17

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Stages-of-readiness for embodied dialogic practice.

Design and engagement practitioners have adopted mindfulness approaches to large-group participation recently, that help participants move go from “heady” intellectual interactions to more embodied states of presence and awareness. Perhaps the most well-known approach is that of Theory U (Presencing), which has been applied in a huge range of process contexts, including in the 2015 Unify Toronto series.

This DwD will share some of the theory and practice behind the “Come to the Edge” performance that happened in Belgium last month. Jennifer Jimenez will share, how this approach relates to developments in the disability arts movement and the shifting relationship to time. This involves grounding practices, but also practices that help people become transport to other realities, and involves crossing different types of thresholds. 

Stephen Sillett and Jenny work together and will give insights into the thinking behind how this work is informed by dialogical design practice in long term community development. They will address questions about:

  • How can we quickly enable diverse groups of participants to gain trust in their engagement and go deeper? (Using approaches appropriate to the people, place and purpose.)
  • How might we facilitate participants to feel both free and grounded, through emergent embodiment?
  • What would help support each of us to risk approaching the Edge of what we know, or to enter into an unknown area of inquiry?

This DwD will engaged approaches to enable free exploration and collective trust and comfort to be achieved through intentional process design. We will share situations where we (ADCID) have helped participants with complex disabilities who can feel burden with frustration at their situation, and resigned to a state of endurance. We have developed different approaches for these contexts, which have adaptations from actor training, and mental space psychology.

Working with pre-verbal approaches, and metaphorical representations of burdens, we found major impact on communities who use alternative and augmentative communication. These can be used in the design of other dialogic engagements, and also for activities seeking to use dialogue as part of participatory design methodologies.

We will share the following exercises which can be used to open up participants to deeper engagement:

  • Chairs and Tables – exercise that uses a simple spectrogram followed by metaphorical objects which become psychoactive and which the group can bond as we unburden
  • Passing the energy – exercise that opens up individuals and establishes a group dynamic.
  • David Grove’s Clean Space – deeper engagement around an outcome

Register on Eventbrite

Location: Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) Room 410  OCAD University     205 Richmond St. West at Duncan

About the Presenters

Jennifer Jimenez has a background as a scenographer, theatre-maker, and arts educator. She seeks artistic projects rooted in devised collaborative processes where all elements can play an active role in creation. This can take the form of integrating lighting and design into the rehearsal and creation process, working with community members to create a performance piece or devising an audience interactive piece, where those present are actively involved in meaning making. She has participated in training workshops in collaborative creation with Ariane Mnouchkine’s Teatre Du Soleil, and in Image and Forum Theatre facilitation at the Centres for the Theatre of The Oppressed in London, Toronto, and New York. Jenny has a Masters in Devised Theatre Creation from Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK, and a BFA and BEd from York University.  She has taught drama and visual arts in the Ontario Secondary School system and in the UK.

Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett are co-directors of ADCID (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development), where they facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, they explore approaches that engage community members in conversations, consciously orientated to maturing visions of the future. Research interests include the facilitation of non-verbal and spatial meaning-making practices within group workshop and the creation of interactive performance. They direct the InFusion Labs process where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.

 

The Alpha Expression Workshop

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DwD often hosts more open-ended, playful learning workshops in the summer months. For August we hosted Dexter Ico, well known as a video coach, with his Alpha Expression workshop. The experience we explored together:
Can we be self-expressed on demand? 

The promise: Discover your capacity to be yourself with others, on stage, on camera, on demand.

Dexter Ico has been coaching people from all walks of life to hold presence in unnerving situatins – the stage and video camera in particular – working with stand-up comedy, theatre, improve, and vlogging to gain presence and assurance. Earlier developments of his workshop were known as “Practice makes Practice.” Join Dexter and Design with Dialogue in this August session to safely explore the range and experience of you ability to hold presence with grace and focus, pushing the ranges of vocal and physical expression to learn from touching these boundaries in a safe environment. Dexter calls this form of over-acting the “alpha expression.”

Exercises were descriptively named following the impulse being explored. The following photos of community members show “Exaggerated Alpha” and some from “Expert Voice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of us stage-shy, hyper-rational, modestly-composed speakers learned how to swing out and push the edges of self-expression and speech performance in the workshop. Of course, as only a 2.5 hour workshop there was only so much direct coaching available for the over 20 participants in the OCADU Auditorium. This was a first experience for many of this opportunity and even at that initial stage, was experienced as a personal breakthrough by many.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST HOST
My name is Dexter Ico. I have a knack for coaching people. I’ve helped kids to CEO’s, actors land TV shows, and held one-off talk shows. As a video producer, I interview and direct people all the time, encouraging the expression of that intuitive alpha in everyone.

 

“The Alpha is being yourself to an extreme, in your essence, wanting to engage with others, like children do.  It’s about empowering who you already are through playful exercises and interactive dialogue. The key component? A sense of play.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing for Play – How to Play your Work

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In the March DwD session with Farzad Sedghipour, we explored the importance of finding play in our work through a semi-structured facilitated workshop.  Roughly 20 members of Toronto’s innovation community attended, ready to design for play. The workshop was based on Farzad’s Strategic Foresight & Innovation project,  Play to Perform: Why Play is the Future of Work

Play is one of life’s top motivators, it is fundamentally collaborative, and we have to play in creative work.

The Process

“Work and Play are words to used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.”
-Mark Twain

The DwD workshop comprised several improv games; a short-discussion defining play, what it is and is not, the creation of individual Play Personalities through a Maker’s survey, and group games exploring the future of play at work.

Defining one’s Play Personality required individuals to reflect back into their childhood experiences and remember moments when they were fully immersed in an activity for its sake.  Participants were asked to also consider times they made a difference, what made them come alive in these instances, and what animal personalities and historical/fictional characters they identified with.

The final piece of this exercise was a magazine montage, in which participants created their play personality using magazine cutouts, to help them define what personality traits and attributes characterize them when they are in a state of play.

In the second exercise, we explored jobs many would consider “mundane” or “boring” – call center operator, assembly line worker, retail etc. –  and how we as managers might help our employees find more play within them.  We talked about how Toyota for example, injects play into manufacturing work through their Kaizen culture, which encourages employees to take ownership of continuous improvement initiatives and processes.  We talked about how a call center might “playify” its work to A/B test various strategies, while enabling staff to have fun and produce more great work.  In general, we talked about how managers can give employees more agency and control over how they do their work, in order to cultivate a play mindset in their employees.

Rank your top 2 drives to play are:

  • The Joker: loves nonsense, and practical jokes as an adult
  • The Kinesthetic: needs to move (to think); loves being in their body: dance, swim, yoga, walk
  • The Explorer: Actively seeks out new experiences, be they physical, mental, or emotional
  • The Competitor: loves playing games to win, to be number 1
  • The Director: Enjoys planning and executing scenes and events. Born organizers, party givers; the world’s a stage and we are all players in the director’s game
  • The Collector: Have and hold the most, best, and most interesting objects: coins, toys, wine, shoes, ties, videos, music etc. can be solitary or social
  • The Artist/Creator: The maker, including painting, woodworking, pottery, and sculptor.. more recently, the programmer/developer
  • The Storyteller: Imagination is the key to this kingdom; novelists, playwrights, cartoonists, and screenwriters; Performer of magic tricks, lectures, dance and actingLeading with a play mindset is what creative entrepreneurs and master crafts people do explained Farzad, because for them, play is the work they would do even if no one required them to do it.

A few key insights that emerged were:

  1. Employing sensory props such as smelly markers, jelly beans, and balloons can nudge participants in more vividly recalling their childhood experiences,
  2. More opportunities to learn about the neuroscience and theory of play,
  3. and facilitate mad libs and co-creations to inspire more play-led activities.  

All great suggestions to think about, for how else could one consistently perform with vitality, creativity, and skill, without play.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Farzad is an economist and a futurist who is passionate about strategy and organizational design, play, and the future or work.  He thinks systematically and behaviourally to help clients find innovation opportunities between diverse values and interests. Farzad’s past experiences include 8-years’ leading economic research, organizational development and business design, and strategic-foresight projects for the private and public sector. He holds a M.A. in Economics & Finance and a MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation.

 

Innovate or Dinosaur! Serious Play for Innovation.

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September’s DwD explored the new board game (launched this week) by Traction Strategy, cheekily called Innovate or Dinosaur!  A truly collaborative innovation game, the playful approach helps teams generate and test new ideas, create a path to assess and implement them, and builds the capacity for organizations to “innovate everyday”.

Played by teams of 4 or more per table, the game is staged into two board and movements, Exploration and Evolution.   The  Explore board uses a standard die and chance to move players through a number of event and process cards that promote lateral thinking and exploration of your innovation ideas in novel, playful ways. gameboard

Players start by generating a set of proposed innovation proposals for their organization or projects that they choose to present in exploration with team members. Competition can be set up between groups and within teams in playful ways to drive the game process forward. We played with a time deadline model, where the first round of game play ended after 20 minutes and teams were credited with the number of innovation proposals explored within the period. Chance also played into some teams tackling fewer proposals, depending on board position and card actions.

Tamara and Shawna’s experience in innovation engagements with organizations led to creating a large catalog of provocations and lateral thinking concepts in the various process cards. Many of these are quite unexpected and fun, lending a real experience of surprise to the game proceedings.

The Innovate or Dinosaur game design is based on some of  the key ingredients for innovation identified in a study done on the innovation processes of  Nobel Prize Winners – some of  the most highly recognized innovators in the world. These key ingredients include: collaboration, competence, communication, vision, playfulness, and work (effort).

franktable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A roomful of participants played through both boards of the game over a 2 hour + session, which was found to be insufficient time to explore more than one innovation proposal from each player. The game approach requires multiple rounds of ideation, and participants found real value in some of the idea development. By the end of the session, there was convincing evidence of the unique value of the gameboard approach and the value of the specific tools and processes built into the game.

Traction Strategy has since launched the game publicly, and the game is available and promoted at innovateordinosaur.com

evolvetable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Hosts

Tamara Eberle, CPF, CTF, Founder and Director of Facilitation & Learning, Traction Strategy  and Shawna Eberle, Toronto-based Director of Traction Studio

tamTamara is an award-winning professional facilitator with over two decades of group leadership and process design experience. She is a Certified Professional Facilitator (IAF), Certified ToP Facilitator (ICA), has a degree in Sociology, and has specialized training in Public Participation (IAP2), Change Management, Design Charrettes (NCI), and organizational game design.

Traction Strategy is a multi-award winning, boutique consulting company providing Certified Professional Facilitation as well as leadership and organizational development training.  As experts with diverse, cross-functional teams and stakeholder groups, they use participatory methods and techniques to support teams and organizations while providing a meaningful experience.

Improvising Breakthroughs in Difficult Conversations

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How can we engage in difficult conversations in a way that is productive, satisfying, and even FUN?

How can we open ourselves to learn something new about the other person’s perspective?

What is the difference between a response and a reaction?

DwD-Lauren

Lauren Stein presented an interactive, experiential exploration of “difficult conversations” at November’s DwD, engaging about 30 people in playful ways to approach these conversations – expressed as speaking and listening to concerns about criticism, personal emotions, relationships, money, and fears. Using the tools and experiences of improvisational theatre, Lauren showed us how to slow down conversations to separate reactions from responses. The goal of experiential learning was to identify and use internal information, both intellectual and emotional, to construct respectful responses rather than triggered or knee-jerk reactions.

Lauren emphasized the  philosophy of “Yes/And” as a relational tool, a way to stay on the same side of the other person, even if we disagree about a particular issue.  The exercises – from opening circle to improvisational conversation theatre – all reinforced the importance of an open and curious attitude.

From the very start, the OCADU Auditorium was buzzing with discussions, from the introductions, to paired exchanges into questions, to exercises exhausting the imaginative space of asking questions.

Some participants were asked deep questions and discovered things they did not know about themselves. People learned and took home new games for conversational exploration, such as the Curiosity Game and the Questions Game (based on the idea of asking your partner about anything you’re curious about). One couple even reportedly resolved a personal dispute just by using the improv principle of “Yes, And.”

Hobeen-Peter

The final exercise involved volunteer demonstrations of improvised conversations between participants acting out scenes drawn from their own feeling states.

Here two DwD participants, Hobeen and Peter improvise an emotional exchange between a worn-out boxer and his coach, both struggling with the will to win and the meaning of the match. Lauren skillfully set up the pair to adopt postures and positions, wait for the impulse, and to create the context and conversation as it emerged.

Lauren reminds us that sometimes the highest we can achieve from a difficult conversation is to understand the other person’s point of view and remain respectful.

 

About the Host

Warrior Woman-sm

Lauren Stein is director of Laurentina’s Improv Club, where she performs and facilitates improvisational theatre experiences. She has taught and performed all over the world, including Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, and Switzerland. With a Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy from European Graduate School, she helps people awaken their creativity and overcome life’s hurdles through play.