The recording was live when Jeff Harry and logged into the Zoom room, long before our “official interview” started, but the conversation for the first fifteen minutes was so interesting that I decided to keep it in.
Be prepared to really feel like a fly on the wall of my studio in this one!
Here’s Jeffrey’s official bio:
Jeff believes that there’s nothing quite like watching a Senior Executive screaming with delight while skipping after a tiny LEGO® car.
As the VP of Fun at Play-Well TEKnologies, he and his team show kids and adults how to tap into their true selves — feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing with tiny LEGO® pieces.
Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day. It turns out that giving people permission to be really silly helps them be more productive, learn faster and love their work.
His play work has been featured on AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN.
Jeff understands that, while we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grown-ups, when we can let go of that facade and just play, magic happens.
Fully embracing your own nerdy genius — whatever that is — gives you the power to make a difference and change lives.
Have a listen and let me know what resonates most with you about Jeff’s story. How will you integrate more play into your life?
In this episode we talked about:
- How context impacts our perception of ourselves
- The importance of experiential learning for children and adults
- His recent experience with the perception of play in China
- The role of play in creativity and innovation
- Jeff’s education & career background
- The mission behind Play-Well’s Lego classes
- How Play-Well expanded over time by connecting with like-minded people
- Jeff’s role as VP of Fun
- His desire to talk about controversial topics through play
- The power of play to bring people and communities together
Mentioned In This Episode
RSA Animate Video
World Domination Summit
Soccer Play Life Guy
Living A Creative Life Youtube Channel
Intentional Play Summit
Center For Engineering Education and Outreach
Jeff’s Creative Mornings Talk
Center For Engineering Education and Outreach
Compassionate Play (Compassion Games?)
Melissa’s Something Cool: Pouring liquid boxes “upside down”
Jeff’s Something Cool: Chinese candies, Warriors gear, Lego Tie, Sneaky Cards (aff link; or click here for a non-aff link)
- Building Community Through Play with International Rescue Committee – Silver Springs, MD
- Discussing Gentrification Through Play – Oakland, CA
- Building The World’s Longest LEGO Chain For Muscular Dystrophy – New Jersey
Connect with Jeff Harry
“Experiential learning is really how I learned almost everything that I do.” – Jeff Harry
“I learned how to do them because I had to figure them out.” – Melissa Dinwiddie
“How do we cultivate the inner awesome soul of a kid through play?” – Jeff Harry
“I need to let myself make crap because the crap is what is going to fertilize the good stuff.” – Melissa Dinwiddie
“I realized I never wanted to be a toy designer. What I wanted to do was to use toys as a way to build connections and create more fun and happiness with kids.” – Jeff Harry
“I’m all about creating opportunities for people to play so they can really tap into who they are.” – Jeff Harry
“I would teach seven-year-olds what gravitational acceleration was. So they are all memorizing that it’s 9.8 m/sec2. They don’t know what that means but by the time they roll into 6th or 7th grade and they see it they’re like, ‘I know this because I learned this in LEGO® class!’” – Jeff Harry
“When people play together, something shifts and you can’t have the same relationship with somebody once you’ve played with them. You can’t have those same biases, the same negative feelings once you’ve played with somebody. It changes something.” – Melissa Dinwiddie
“I want to facilitate opportunities for that to happen — when you can see yourself, you can remind yourself of how awesome you were, especially as a kid and how you’re still awesome now and how awesome other people are around you.” – Jeff Harry
“When we can get into that play space it allows us to be ourselves and to be seen as ourselves.” – Melissa Dinwiddie
“If we are going to change the world, it’s going to be through play.” – Melissa Dinwiddie
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
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Thanks for Listening!
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