About

Nobody should have to experience boring virtual trainings.

Nobody should have to hop a flight to attend a great conference, either.

And yet too many innovative, people-first companies grapple with boring virtual trainings or events that just don’t live up to the creativity of their brand.

You’ve probably seen the symptoms:

Attendees do anything they can to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Or they look for excuses to click away to check email or Facebook.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

Great trainings and events all come down to creativity + design + preparation.

We bring these three elements together to make creative, interactive, playful virtual experiences where attendees:

  • learn while having fun
  • form deep connections
  • leave looking forward to the next time!

We can work with your content to design a live, virtual instructor-led training program that’s interactive, engaging, and—yes—fun!

 

Case Study: From Customer Overwhelm to Brand Evangelist

Company X’s products were flying off the shelves, but too many new customers got overwhelmed and intimidated, and never took it out of the box.

We worked with Company X to develop a scalable, virtual instructor-led training that would help their customers fall in love with using the product, and help them grow an ever-expanding loyal base of brand ambassadors and evangelists.

The session we designed was interactive, engaging, and fun—and scalable for multiple hundreds, even thousands, of participants.

Attendance drop-off was minimal, customer feedback was great, and upper management was thrilled. So much so that they hired us back for Round 2!

We iterated on the original session design, trained contract staff to facilitate, teach, do technical production, and moderate the chat.

And we documented everything so the company can use all the learnings going forward as they bring on new staff, and ultimately build out a bigger line of trainings.

“You made this project better — thank you for caring so much about the quality of the experience for our customers. It really showed.” -B

We can design a virtual offsite that addresses key skill areas, while feeling like play.

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Case Study: Teaching the King of Engagement How to Engage

When C, a research manager at Facebook, came to Creative Sandbox Solutions™, her team was in need of some diplomacy skills.

They struggled to empathetically understand different audiences.

They “buried the lede,” firehosing their readers and listeners with ALL their research findings.

Their communications were filled with “research-speak”—jargon that was incomprehensible to colleagues and stakeholders.

Their tone tended toward negative and adversarial, which turned people off.

All of this meant they weren’t getting engagement from their communications, and their valuable insights weren’t having the impact they deserved.

Meanwhile, the pandemic had everyone in a funk, so they also needed a morale boost.

We designed a program, Communicating for Influence, which improved cross-functional communication, skyrocketed engagement, and boosted morale, all in a matter of weeks (and all using play-based methods).

In the span of six months, Facebook brought us in to work with five other teams. And it’s no surprise why: participants not only saw behavior change, but also said these were the “most fun meetings I’ve attended all year!”

Who We Are

Melissa Dinwiddie

Founder, CEO, Lead Curriculum Designer & Facilitator

Melissa’s the author of The Creative Sandbox Way™: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, an interactive playbook that countless readers have sworn freed them from creative block virtually overnight.

Melissa has a reputation for creating impactful, memorable experiences that teach key skills while being fun at the same time. She loves collaborating, and is great at encouraging, cheerleading, and creating a positive vibe.

Melissa’s front-of-room experience ranges from traveling the country teaching calligraphy, to speaking on stages from Connecticut to California, to performing as a singer for audiences as big as 6,500, and presenting at professional conferences internationally. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s become sought after for her expertise in play-based techniques for leading engaging, interactive virtual meetings. When there isn’t a global pandemic going on, she performs improv with a number of different groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A graduate of UC Berkeley with a Bachelors in Social Science, and the University of Birmingham, England, with a Masters in Cultural Studies, Melissa lives with her husband in Silicon Valley and spends her free time making art, playing ukulele, or chasing kitty fluffs that have fallen off her Siberian cat, Nika.

Britta Schell

Workplace Team Trainer

Britta helps gamechanger products & experiences deeply understand their users to become must-have brands.

She starts with a client’s goals, and where they are today. Where do you want to take your team, product, or brand this year, and in five years? What questions or challenges does your team keep circling around? Known for her unique abilities in storytelling and research communication, Britta develops real, meaningful & actionable insights.

The results are transformative: You’ll deeply understand your users, putting them at the heart of everything your brand does and every decision your teams make. This means: More users, engaging with your brand and products more frequently, recommending your brand, becoming your growth engine. New products and initiatives from your brand that launch successfully, because your users are at the heart of it all. More impact for your team, and increased collaboration and unity around your goals.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Britta served as Director, Digital Strategic Insights at MTV. She started her career in innovative brand strategy and advertising agencies. These experiences grounded her in the power of insights to supercharging growth and loyalty for brands—and that research must be actionable and engaging to be useful.

 

“Play is not the opposite of work. When it’s used strategically, play is how we make work more effective.”

-Melissa Dinwiddie

Download Our Capabilities Statement!

Looking for a one-sheet about Creative Sandbox Solutions™? Click the image for our downloadable “company resume”!

 

And Just for Fun…

A little more about our founder & CEO, in pictures!

 

A visual bio of Melissa Dinwiddie

Born and raised in Silicon Valley, I’m steeped in a culture of innovation and disruption.

As a professional artist and calligrapher for 15 years, with a background in dance (Juilliard-trained) and music (semi-professional jazz singer), I bring a creative outsider’s perspective to your corporate setting, and now channel my art background into graphic facilitation.

I’ve studied and performed improv since 2013. The skills that allow a team of improvisors to make up scenes onstage for a paying audience are the same skills that make a high-functioning corporate team, and I can teach them to your team: collaboration, communication, and leaning into uncertainty in high stakes contexts.

I’m a multiply-certified facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methods and materials:

✔️Teams & Groups

✔️Advanced Strategy

✔️Advanced Creative Conflict Management

✔️Advanced Strategic Storytelling

✔️Agile Project Teams In Motion

As an online business owner since 2010, I’ve developed the skills to deliver online sessions for your distributed, virtual, or hybrid teams.

Before starting Creative Sandbox Solutions™, I earned my Masters of Social Science in Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, England, and built a successful business as a freelance artist and calligrapher. My own experience with creative block led me to build another business, Living A Creative Life, helping people get creatively unstuck, via online courses, a membership community, and in-person workshops and retreats.

Speaking at the Connecticut Professional Photographers Association National ConferenceMy front-of-room experience ranges from traveling the country teaching calligraphy, to speaking on stages from Connecticut to a packed house in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, to performing as a singer for audiences as big as 6,500.

I’m the author of The Creative Sandbox Way™: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, and host of The Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast. I live with my husband in Silicon Valley and spend my free time doodling, playing ukulele, or chasing kitty fluffs that have fallen off my Siberian cat, Nika.

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Ready to Transform Your Virtual Trainings & Events?