#play14. Fifth edition
3 October 2022
#play14 is a non-conference on serious gaming: during two days, the game is the real protagonist and learning, sharing, growing, analysing, enjoying, discovering tools.
The fifth edition of the event concluded on saturday 17 september 2022.
After three long years apart due to the pandemic, about 130 people (old and new participants and organisers among them) gathered at Future Lab, a location in Bolognese hills surrounded by greenery and silence which is perfect to inspire creativity, listen to emotions and live the experience together!
A singular, particular and important edition…for various reasons.
Partly because of the almost uncontrollable energy released after years of waiting.
Partly due to the international atmosphere, enriched by the presence of a colleague from the UK team, coming from Mexico.
Partly for many new faces and for the strong relationships they created.
For many, it was the first time at #play14 and for much more at a real non-conference. Introducing them was the occasion to remind some important details and the structure of this kind of event.
(For deepen, please read this article on our blog).
Early hours of the unconference: the mascotte of #play14!
Thursday, 15th of September. It is only a few minutes from 5pm and the first participants are arriving, welcomed by the staff of Agile Reloaded still at the mercy of last preparations and led to the registration desk.
In parallel, a series of icebreaker activities were entertaining those who had already laid down on the lawn or on a banquet.
The afternoon continued with the introduction of new participants, then a fast reminder of the rules and principles of the unconference and finally the first social game: the mascotte of #play14, thanks to which participants could test and share their abilities of team working and coopetition.
During the first day, people dedicated themselves to getting to know each other, gaining confidence and understanding what was going on. They are the most important moments to create an informal and relaxed environment, of sharing, collaborating and mutual trust.
Second day: let’s play!
Friday, 16th of September. It starts to get real: it is the time of the marketplace, a place for proposals and negotiations.
In this occasion we could deepen understand the gripping strength of #play14.
Already during the fourth edition in 2019, something was changing: the audience was renewing and professionals from different sectors were starting to participate, alongside ten-year agilists who were already using serious games during their daily activities.
This year, this dynamic was consolidated: among the new faces there were many young coaches, scrum masters or newly-hired agilists, and many others came from worlds away from Agile.
Everyone participated in the marketplace: both new and old participants, all shared their ideas and the board began to colour.
#play14 has officially begun!
What game have we played?
During the second day, there were countless activities to offer; here we list them all and deepen some.
- 10 strings, focused on team dynamics.
- Wind Pass, on time management.
- Welcome to Legoland. Organised in teams and using legos, this game is useful to train storytelling, public speaking andconversational, listening and synchronisation skills.
- SòRiso (no translation available). A dynamic activity focused on goal management, team dynamics, customer needs and continuous improvement. The attention is on the role of the team, the leaders and the relationship between these two groups. Firstly, there is no dialogue between the leaders and the team, which continues working mechanically.
But what happens when leaders share their objectives with the team?
- Imprò (short for improvisation). A series of games and exercises taken from theatrical improvisation to train cooperation and team building.
- Playfulness 101 and Working with play. “When you play, you can express yourself better than speaking”. A series of movements and games to learn to “wear the playfulness”.
- Munchkin. A revolutionary version of an Italian box game to train risk management abilities through collaboration.
- Collaborative games, to stimulate collaboration.
Pics credits by Dimitri Favre
- Empathy toy. Inspired by a wooden tool created by a Canadian organisation, this activity aims to stimulate communication and empathy.
- Who’s on stage? A team game to learn to stay in the present and to train coopetition: When you compete but also cooperate with your opponents, you can achieve your goal with less effort and greater speed.
- Enneagramma (no translation available), to develop personal leadership skills, from the knowledge of yourself and others.
- The Agile clinic. Three hospital departments implemented Agile/Lean processes to treat their patients.
- “Small balls”, a warm-up session to train concentration skills.
- Fly me to Kanban. Based on a delivery strategy, this game aims to understand the value of your daily activities within business realities.
- The woman on the bridge, an assessment exercise.
- The Mind, taken from a box game and focused on team building.
- Tokyo train. A dynamic and involving activity that aims to demonstrate communication difficulties in different contexts (e.g. between the client – scrum master – and the team) and train organisational skills.
- Playing theatre, based on team building, public speaking and improvisation.
- Outsider in a big company, about organisation, team building and the ability of managing your responsibilities within different business realities.
- Liberating meetings, to find solutions to optimise meetings.
- PCM game. On communicative personalities, teamwork, conflict management. The aim is to teach how to recognise yourself and others, to build constructive dialogues even in stressful situations.
A specific article will be written on this game.
- Story Leading, a “card game” to improve personal leadership storytelling skills.
- Count on the team and Blind Square, to train team working abilities.
Finally, the Coaching Corner was proposed for the first time at #play14: an opportunity to test the effectiveness of the “half-hour coaching”, through individual sessions with experts from the Agile Reloaded team.
The second day ended with an engaging but tiring Human Bingo session and a series of original icebreakers (God bless the dinner catering!)
Third day: crying sky but don’t give up!
Saturday, 17th of September. It was raining, but everyone wanted to play, aware that it would soon be over. Each proposal was accepted and teams were distributed inside the interior spaces of the location.
What game have we played?
- Just do it. The way of the lost martialist. A session of “Taekwondo” with two expert external guests, to learn to recognise and utilise the fighter and the warrior within us.
- Ariadne’s thread. A team game to train communication and team building abilities and to learn to listen more than to watch.
- Outside the tunnel, based on iterations, creativity, teamwork and ability to both evaluate and achieve a high level of effectiveness.
- Magic Stick. A team and a stick resting on the fingers to take to the ground, together. What could go wrong? A perfect game to start a retrospective or facilitation session, stimulating communication and bringing out team dynamics.
- Paint the Story Point. A game to train the ability to evaluate a project and break it down into small parts to speed up its completion. Important requirement: being able to colour.
A specific article will be written on this game.
- Failure toy. In the wake of the Empathy toy, it is a game to deal with failure and make it an opportunity to increase resilience.
- Cervelly (no translation available), focused on teamwork and the ability to recognise the responsibilities and importance of different roles within an organisation.
- Core Quadrant, to know yourself and others through a special pack of cards.
- Game Anatomy. A theoretical session on what a serious game is, its structure, how to facilitate it and how to conduct the debrief.
- The Game Manifest. 10 universal rules, and the last one is up to you!
- How much time does it take? An activity on estimation and process.
- Commuting, about leadership and teamwork.
- From Pencil to brush lettering. Whether in facilitation, sketch noting or otherwise, calligraphy helps to spread the message around. This workshop aims to improve your calligraphy skills and know the basics of brush lettering.
- Sweet surrender, about teamwork, team management, leadership and planning.
- Cat food. Interesting title. This activity aims to show how to introduce and enhance external elements (in this case, cat food) within a company.
- Agile Grammelot. A game where you simulate, through a role-play approach, a working dynamic in a team that wants to apply an iterative and incremental approach.
- The Voice. Coming from the world of theatre, it is a verbal game useful for training communication and public speaking skills.
In a small space of time between activities during the afternoon, everyone (participants and organisers) were entertained in a group session of “Taekwondo”: this was not an usual class, but a reflection meeting using teachings and movements taken from the world of martial arts, to reflect on the relationship between people.
Despite the tiredness and the early departures, the desire to play until the last second never waned.
This is #play14!