When I was 16 years old, I got kicked out of high school. Apparently, I was disturbing the rest of the class with my stories, drawings and play initiatives that I was sending around during our boring classes. At the “serious conversation” that I was called in to, the principal told me that even though they all found it entertaining and fun, I would have to stop and concentrate to get a proper education and a good job in the future. Otherwise, I would need to leave the high school. So, I left.
Jumping to 2020, I don’t think I have a good job – I know I have the BEST job in the world. I am a Play Director, heading up a small team with the very important task to engage all our colleagues and children of all ages around the world in Learning through Play.
While growing up, we implicitly learn, via norms and educational systems, that playing is unnecessary, silly and something you only do in certain situations, as a child or with your own children. More or less what the principal said to me when I was 16 years old. I am not stating that we should all start to dress up (even though I love it) or roleplaying, to learn new skills. But as adults, it is still quite important to play. Play is a catalyst for skill development which makes it easier to learn new things that are very needed for all of us in a rapidly changing world. On top of that, it is also very energizing to learn new things.
I am so fortunate to work here, where the values are not just old wallpaper, and I get to use them every day. Our vision – to be a global force for establishing and innovating Learning through Play – is both inspiring and action-orientated. We need to be(come) a playful organization ourselves to be true to our vision. And with my job, I sort of see it as my obligation to create one of the paths to always live up to the vision, because I have this licence to Play. In fact, we all have a licence to Play at the LEGO Group.
That’s also why we have, every year, the so-called LEGO® Play Day as one of the Play initiatives to engage ourselves, more than 18,000 employees globally, for a full day, in Learning through Play activities. This year, because of COVID-19, we could not have a physical Play Day – but we decided to proceed anyway.
As we have been separated as colleagues for months, and will be for a while, we needed to create a space, to make us all feel a part of our global force, and what better way to do that than playing together. So, the past few weeks we have joined efforts with our colleagues around the globe to experiment, bounce ideas, being creative and using our imagination and problem-solving skills, to scope and develop a new Play initiative, that we call the Virtual Play Week.
I have no idea how it will turn out as we have never tried it before, but one thing is for sure: we have done our best to make it engaging and diverse. There is no doubt that we will learn a lot from the activities, the platform and the audience. I am very proud, humbled and energized that I have a job where I can use all my skills and personality to do what I live for, laughter, love and positive energy. Let’s play.
I am a creator, a mom and a wife, with passion for life, Snapchat filters, my garden, running and wine. Last but not least, I get inspired by fun, great and twisted ideas.
“Life is not a journey towards the grave, where you have to arrive safely in a nice and well preserved, body. On the contrary, you should arrive sideways, totally worn down, with a big smile on your face, Shouting out loud: What a Ride”. Anonymous.