#PLAY14. The Serious Gaming Unconference
15 March 2022
#play14 is a worldwide gathering of like-minded people who believe that playing is the best way to learn, share and be creative!
(Official #play14 website)
#play14 is born!
#play14 was born in Luxembourg in 2013, from the idea of four enterprising agilists, as a response to a shared feeling of frustration: the tickets for the long-awaited “play4agile” event ran out well in advance. Many were excluded, but unlike the rest of the people, the four agilists chose the path of creativity over that of despair.
Out of respect for the organisers of “play4agile”, the four made sure it would not be a problem to hold a similar event in Luxembourg. So, towards the end of 2013, they met in a bar in the capital of the namesake country and came up with #play14.
The event was officially launched on 14 March 2014 (hence, its name).
Back then, we had no idea if it would work, of what it would eventually become, and that a couple of years later, #play14 would be present all around Europe. The rest is history…
(the founders, from the official #play14 website)
What is #play14?
#Play14 is a two-day “unconference” dedicated to serious gaming, where the theme of gaming is a tool for team building, retrospective analysis, learning, modelling, problem solving and many more.
Unlike traditional games with pre-established rules and themes, the structure of the unconference directly asks the participants to establish the programme for the two days, proposing and choosing together contents, times and places of the activities.
There are only two rules.
- The law of two feet: participants can (and must) freely enter or leave the different groups, according to their personal consideration of how much added value they can bring to the various activities.
- The bumblebees and butterflies: people who move from one flower to another bringing insights and ideas from other groups, foster cross-pollination; while those who stay in the sessions for their entire duration, foster continuity and stability of conversations, to build and achieve fruits.
There are four main principles:
Unconference cartoons by Claudio Perrone
#Play 14 comes to Italy
The first italian edition of #play14 dates back to 2016, proposed and organised by the Agile Reloaded team.
After having participated in and actively experienced the two previous editions held in Luxembourg, some reloaders thought it was a good idea to bring this new learning and sharing format to our country. The success was so surprising, that the event has become a fixed annual appointment.
After the standstill due to the pandemic, there is great excitement for the next edition: 15-16-17 of September 2022 at FutureLab, Bologna.
What are we playing?
Below are some of the activities organised during the past Italian events.
- Serious Social Games for individuals or teams, icebreaker initiatives for getting to know each other; such as Human Bingo, where the bingo numbers are replaced by a “competence matrix”.
- Chaos Brain, one of the games proposed to train computational thinking and to demonstrate that, although the human brain is considered an infinitely powerful machine, it is always more efficient to perform one action at a time.
- Negotiation game, which showed how the effect of collaboration and competition affect the final result and how an uncooperative team can damage the result of the entire ecosystem in which it operates.
- Project Management: two teams and a fail, a game to reflect on the importance not only of effective communication, but also of maintaining one’s identity as an individual within a working group, in order to achieve team goals.
- Client oriented train, an activity more than a game, which led to various considerations on actions useful to create added value for the client for each combination of values and competences.
- Slackline walking, a game that is as simple as effective, to demonstrate how the trust in one’s group helps to achieve a team goal.
- Happy salmon “blind”, a version of the game with very high energy and speed, but which requires additional skills and abilities if deprived of the sense of sight.
- Collaboration and cooperation, a series of activities that managed to combine an energy component with logic and some principles of process theory.
- Olympics Serious Games, a sequence of team games, united by the concept of challenge and collaboration.
- Make your own circle, a game about team building, leadership and empathy.
- Tell a story, an activity to experiment with storytelling and interface with the art of public speaking.J’accuse, to free the voice, legs, arms and release tension.
- Kanban in the restaurant, a realistic implementation of lean product principles, where lean theory was combined with cooking.
- Elevator, to accompany startuppers on their journey, leading them to question about what is necessary, useful, appropriate in realising their idea.
- Cynefin playing cards, an activity that once again demonstrated how games can be useful and effective to explain and understand even particularly difficult topix such as complexity, thanks to the use of experiments and concrete observations.
And many more.
Before saying goodbye…
What will you learn?
- Facilitation 85%
- Innovation 70%
- Change Management 60%
- Happiness 90%
#play14 is and always will be
- a place to share knowledge & practices more than a place to sell services & goods
- open to all people or communities with an interest on learning with fun
- focused on games & activities in the physical world more than in the virtual world
- an unconference based on the Open Space Technology
- non profit, which means that when we do make a profit on a given event, we reinvest everything into the next
(The official #play14 website)
For more details on past editions, the organisation and the various activities, we invite you to read the articles published in the online magazine Mokabyte:
- http://www.mokabyte.it/2014/04/play14/ – II edition in Luxemburg
- http://www.mokabyte.it/2016/05/play14milano/ – I Italian edition in Milan
- http://www.mokabyte.it/2017/05/play14milano17/ – II Italian edition in Milan
- http://www.mokabyte.it/2018/07/play14milano18/ – III Italian edition in Milan
- http://www.mokabyte.it/2019/01/play14partecipare2019/ – IV Italian edition in Bologna