Event Review: Playcamp London 2016

Friday the 13th might not seem the best day to go out and play, but with a bit of effort, we can get past our superstitions and join the May Playcamp.

This review can’t be exhaustive, being impossible for me to attend all the sessions.

The purpose of this article is not to transfer all the knowledge I’ve got from attending, but rather to briefly share my point of view about it. Being subjective, I’ve decided to share my thoughts about what all attendees experienced (the venue and organisation), finally focussing on my takeaways and a final comment.

 

What’s a Playcamp?

It’s a place where you can learn about “serious games” to be used in the workplace, or learn about how to create or how to facilitate them.

 

Organisation

There were three group of activities:

  • Keynotes (plenary)
  • Talks/Exercises (sub-groups)
  • Open Space

The activities were well distributed throughout the day. Starting with 2 hours of keynotes, getting into Talks/Exercises, then Open Space and a final keynote.

There were enough breaks, which were consciously placed.

playcamp-2016

Venue and Costs

The venue, provided by the British Computer Society, was perfect to host the event.
The cost was appropriate for a whole day event, being no more than £90 each including breakfast and lunch.

One of the two takeaways for me was trying an “Improv” session during an Open Space, where we got roles and played conflict resolution. There was a whole group of people learning and practising in a safe environment – if you’re interested: check out London Comms Dojo (I’ll report on that once I get an opportunity to attend).

 

red-green-cardsTakeaways

My second takeaway was about facilitating big events, getting a few tips and tricks and a workflow to follow for diverging, exploring and converging to a solution.

The presentation was very active and we learning via experiencing and sharing together as we were told how to:

  • properly arrange the room
  • preparing materials
  • dividing the people in groups
  • understanding how many people can stay together in a creative session
  • how to refine their results to create a solution made by the whole room

One example of how to get quick feedback from a crowd and a solution is to use Red and Green cards. With participants using red for no and green for yes. The guys at co-learning.be were great at keeping us busy and on point.

play camp endFinal comments

Nobody was hard selling. We were not mis-sold. It wasn’t boring. The food was good. I met lots of interesting people. Sounds great for a one-day meeting 🙂

I would encourage anybody interested into introducing games in the workplace to join a Playcamp session. If you’re entry-level to mid-level, you will enjoy the talks, the experiences and the networking. If you’re an expert – it might be a good opportunity to showcase.

A final remark on how the organisers collected feedback from the room.

Instead of the usual “Plus/Delta” with post-its, I experienced a pretty technological real time system by meetingsift.com:

We were given the url of an online survey-style to access via our phones/tablets. The organisers could then control which question we saw on our phones and our answers were then displayed live on the presenter’s screen. I liked it.

As a final statement: I am happy I joined the session

 

 

Driving the change, creating and growing a sustainable and energetic work environment are what motivates me. I have over 6 years of experience in the field, including roles as Professional Services Operator, Software Engineer, Scrum Master and Agile Coach, from startup to corporate environments. I actively challenge teams and management to see things from different perspectives, identifying biased beliefs and allowing for experimentation on all areas of the Software Development Life Cycle.