Year 2022: Play – Make – Do You

What better way to celebrate what some are calling the “year of the new abnormal” by saying “Yay!” to play? You’re cordially invited to Four Seasons of Play, the School of Play’s freshest year-long programme where you’re invited to play, make and, most vitally, do you.

Through the unique practical mashup of the latest play science, psychology, neuroscience and coaching techniques, you’ll feast on fun and purpose towards transformative change, leaving each workshop feeling inspired and resourced to embrace all that 2022 has to offer. For you and those to whom you matter.

Enjoy each workshop as a standalone experience or as a combination of 4 modules in a year-long programme where you’ll learn about true play, innovative ways to cultivate your play intelligence and shift towards a play mindset as the seasons change. Play your cards right and you’ll grow as an individual and as a leader so you can thrive instead of just survive in what some folks are describing as “new abnormal” times.

Celebrate Each Season with Play

There’s no need to go it alone when it comes to creating the change you want to see or turning your dreams into reality. Experience the transformative power of play in the company of true leaders, adults who dare to play.

As American director and actor Orson Welles once said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends on, of course, where you stop your story.” Where will you choose to take your story?

“I Do Like to Be By the Seaside!”

The Most Playful Place in the World

Does the arrival of spring leave you heady with the prospect of the promise of the sun, sea and sand? That’s because according to the play experts, the most playful place in the world is the beach. Why leave the weather to chance when you can book yourself on an energising and restorative virtual half-day out by the sea while cultivating your creativity and leadership skills in the most playful place in the world?

Upcoming Workshop: Amidst the Sun, Sea and Sand – An Exploration of Your Relationship with Play

Whether you prefer quiet contemplation under a parasol lying on the warm sand or perhaps making the most opulent of sandcastles or taking a plunge in search of sea monsters, join us in this playful exploration of your relationship with play. You’ll have the option to work on your own, in small groups as well as the whole group as we go on a play adventure that will leave you feeling resourced, re-energised and refreshed inside and out along. You’ll take home with you your personalised play profile to keep you playing long after the metaphorical sand has been washed off your toes.

This workshop is part of the Four Seasons of Play 2021 programme. Each workshop can be enjoyed independently or as a combination of modules in a year-long programme where you’ll learn about true play, how to cultivate your play intelligence and shift towards a play mindset as the seasons change. Play your cards right and you’ll grow as a person as well as a leader by becoming more resourceful, resilient and real in these unprecedented and transformative times.

Workshop Takeaways:

  • Play Theory: Play Types, Change Theory and Attachment Theory
  • Increased understanding of your relationship with change
  • A personalised and more detailed play profile of how you like to play
  • Ideas for enabling change in yourself and others, at work and at home
  • Increased play intelligence in yourself and when working with others.

This workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants.

Who would benefit from taking part in this workshop?

The Four Seasons of Play workshops focus on enabling individuals to develop the systemic mindset and skills necessary for an individual to lead effectively – be it yourself, your team, your family or your life. At each workshop, you’ll experience a range of eclectic tools and techniques you are unlikely to have come across before which you could then apply at work and at home.

Where do you sign up?

Join us for a taste of summer and delight your colleagues, family and friends with playful leadership by the seaside. Sign up for the workshop here!

Talk on Playful Leadership: The Art & Science of Emotions

Riddle me this: What am I? The more you have of me, the less you can see. It’s darkness of course. One of the biggest taboos we face as individuals and in groups are emotions. When it comes to feelings, we are encouraged to “go dark” or in the words of Elsa, the Snow Queen, “Never let them show”. Yet it is our awareness and ability to listen and respond to our emotions that enable us to lead, live and love authentically.

Want to Play Some More?

Join me in an interactive and playful talk “Playful Leadership: The Art & Science of Emotions” on Wednesday, 21 April 2021 from 6.30 – 8 pm BST, to learn to “let it go” by exploring the role of emotions, how they are made and get the chance to play your way towards authentic leadership through greater emotional intelligence. Thanks to Lean Agile Brighton for hosting this talk!

The Tick Tock Tree

Over the past 20 years I have played with change in a range of financial institutions with variable success. Then a year ago, I was invited to join a bank-wide transformation like nothing I had ever experienced before. If I had only three words to describe my first impressions a month after my arrival about the bank’s culture, they would be: Friendly, capable and open.

A year on and those words still hold true. What’s more, for many of us these may also be the same three words we wished we could use to describe not just the institutions we entrust our life savings to, but also the places where we do our life’s work.

For the past year I have provided individual and group coaching to senior managers and their teams, as well as individual leadership coaching to organisational change agents such as Scrum Master and Agile Coaches. I have co-designed and co-delivered Agile and leadership training, facilitated numerous programme increment planning for groups in person and remotely as well as accompanied a number of programme teams on their Agile journey.

A Different Kind of Agile Adventure

“So what?” I hear you say. What has made my latest Agile Adventure different to those in the past, is this. By taking a more systemic stance, seeing, thinking and taking action with the whole system in mind, I have enabled more positive and enduring change… Sooner with less effort. Repeatably. Continuously. And have more fun. As many of my colleagues will agree.

So what’s my key learning? In order to do my life’s work, I need to continuously transform myself. Sounds simple and is anything but easy.

My Three Lifesavers

As a wise Agile coach once said to me, “A dead Agile coach is no good to anyone.” Here are my three latest lifesaving principles as I learn to sail my ship:

  • Keep my own drama out of my work
  • Do I what I do best
  • Remember what my work is in service of – not only the individual but the system as a whole.

Symbiosis of Change and Change Agent

Thank you to everyone with whom I’ve had a chance to work with and learn from in the past 12 months. It’s been jampacked with challenge and delight. A year on from an auspicious beginning, as this particular chapter now comes to an end, I am physically and mentally fitter and healthier than when I started. And if my body could still grow vertically, I’d be at least an inch taller now 12 months later.

Here’s one way I’ve found to enable transformational change and have lots of fun doing it. With love. Au revoir! Auf Wiedersehen! Play on!

TSOP: Autumn Term 2019

Welcome to The School of Play Autumn Term!

We hope you’ve had a playful summer and are looking forward to Nature’s colour orchestra as autumn sets in.

Summer in Two Countries

This summer saw the launch of our flagship programme on Playful Leadership which leverages the latest research on Play Science, neuroscience, psychology and coaching to explore and develop your personalised leadership style through play. The first ever Playful Leadership Foundation course took place this sunny July at Chicheley Hall in beautiful Buckinghamshire, the UK country home of the Royal Society.

This was followed by a weekend of play at the MaSCoT conference organised by Wolverhampton University in support of local maths teachers at schools and universities where we gave a talk on “Unleash Your Play Brain: Play Your Way Towards a Happier Adulthood“.


Next we flew across the pond to Washington DC where we gave the latest talk on Playful Leadership: How to Enable Transformational Change and Have Fun Doing It as the closing keynote to 1500+ playmakers at Agile 2019, the world’s largest Agile conference.


What’s Next?

More Playful Leadership Please!

A lucky bunch of us are off next week on  7-8 October for some outdoor play and indoor contemplation for the next Playful Leadership Foundation course. Registration is now closed. We will be announcing more dates for next year soon!

Other Upcoming Courses

For a thought-provoking, playful and change experience when it comes to creating effective Agile transformations, there are two options this autumn in two equally beautiful cities:

And if you fancy an introduction to play fundamentals, here’s the chance to play in Milton Keynes:

Conferences Where Play Happens

If you would like to experience the power of Playful Leadership LIVE, join us at these two super-fun conferences:

Meanwhile, wishing you, your colleagues and loved ones a playful autumn!

Happy Birthday to The School of Play!

Chicheley-HallYay! The School of Play turns 3 today (proof that the Universe has a sense of humour given it’s April 1st), the same week as our favourite play festival CounterPlay 2019 gets ready to play later on this week (BTW you can still buy a ticket to play at CounterPlay).

To celebrate our toddler of a startup’s birthday we are launching our Playful Leadership Foundation Course set to take place this 8-9 July in the beautiful venue of Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire, a stunning Grade I listed mansion as featured in film and television projects as Pride and Prejudice, The Meaning of Life, and Black Beauty.

Chicheley Hall is also the home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, a venue for residential events. As the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, The Royal Society is dedicated to promoting excellence in science and is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists.

We very much hope you’ll come and join us to play at Chicheley Hall this summer to experience and celebrate the transformative power of play!