Playful Leadership – Huddersfield meet-up Nov 2022

Arriving at the University of Huddersfield

On a wet Thursday in November, Playful Learning Association members met at the University of Huddersfield for a two day event exploring the theme of Playful Leadership. This post shared photos and resources from the event.

Bean bags in the bin: leadership ice-breaker

We opening with an ice-breaker from Katie Piatt, involving throwing bean bags into the bin with players being allocated ‘personal circumstances’. These factors were variously supported or unsupported by each team’s managers – and unsurprisingly, with the manager’s support both teams achieved their top scores. Lots of good ideas for improving the game were proposed so we’ll share a more polished version in the future!

Kim, Vici and Tina, phD students from Denmark, then took us through their work on Leading PlayLabs. Vici kicked off with an exercise using Google Teachable Machine and asked us what does Playful Leadership look like?

Traditional Leadership pose
Playful Leadership pose

Through training the machine to recognise leadership styles, we found Playful Leadership diverges from Traditional Leadership and the structured, serious way of doing things to a more informal, open, and relaxed pose. More photos and notes are here: Teachable machine (first slide, pdf)

Kim and Tina then took us through some Perspectives on Playful Leadership (slides, pdf) which led into a discussion on the effectiveness of playful spaces in HE.

Next up was Andy, using the restrictions of block printing to get us to share our ideas on Playful Leadership:

Tina and Louise working on their definitions
A few of the cards we printed

If you want to see our definitions, Andy has helpfully typed up and photographed all our “Playful Leadership is…” cards:

Andy has also shared his Playful Leadership “manifesto” where he explains his thinking:

Andy Walsh’s Manifesto

On Day 2, we opened with Alex Moseley taking us through three different Leadership Models – illustrated by building LEGO cars: (1) Strict Instructions (disastrous), (2) Completely freeform (better) and (3) With a vision (great results!)

Lego car construction in progress

Tina and Kim then took us through an exercise looking at the Beautiful and Ugly (second and third slides, pdf) side of leadership, helping us focus our ideas on what makes leadership Playful.

And after a final activity from Alex asking us to apply different elements of Playful leadership to real world tasks, we ended the event with Powerpoint Karaoke (slides, pdf). In this, each person takes a slide in order and speaks for 30 seconds (unprepared). Amazingly everyone managed this and it was a good way of bringing the ideas of the event back together through metaphors.

Quick! Speak for 30 seconds on why this photograph and the phrase relate to Playful Leadership.

Many thanks again to Andy Walsh for hosting us at the University of Huddersfield. We aim for two face-to-face events each year, moving up and down the country. Out next event will be in London at City University from lunchtime on Thursday 27th April to lunchtime on Friday 28th April.

2 thoughts on “Playful Leadership – Huddersfield meet-up Nov 2022”

  1. Pingback: Autumn Term Conference and Event round-up - Educational Enhancement

  2. Pingback: #PlayLearn December 2022 round-up – Playful Learning Conference 2023

Comments are closed.