Ben Kuiken & Marijne Vos - The Serious Book of Play

How to create playfulness in organizations


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When was the last time that you played in your work? Or is your work too serious to do that? Are you and your colleagues suffering from terminal seriousness?

There is a remedy for it: start playing, start tinkering! Help others to find their playful self again as consultant. And create some playing space in your work and organization.

This is what this book is about -- If you want it to be. The book works the same like magic and making a wish, they only work if you have an open mind when you do it. If you don’t, you might find this a very strange book. Confusing, absurd maybe, but certainly not serious. But this is a VERY serious book.

The Serious Book of Play is about people who are stuck in bureaucratic systems, making them do things they feel ashamed for and which they would rather not do, in health care, education, the government, and in companies.

The core message of this book is this: those suffocating systems do not exist, they are self-created illusions. Fairy tales. Once you start seeing this, your eyes will be opened, and you will experience personal space to do things better and do the things that really matter.

You will experience the space to play.

Published in April 2021 | Hardback | 204 pages | Fully illustrated | ca. 40,000 words
Dutch edition published by S2 Publishers

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Ben Kuiken’s parents predicted that their son would become a professor. He studied Philosophy and is currently doing research for his PhD in Sensemaking. That is quite complicated, but luckily he doesn’t forget to play. He is author of the books The Last Manager and Think Different, in which he can combine the things he likes doing best, reading, researching, and writing. And playing of course.

The work of Marijne Vos was best summarized by her son: ‘Mama creates games for adults, because work can be so much more joyful’. She is an organizational advisor and facilitator, and has experience in change management, appreciative inquiry, business model canvas, design thinking, and new organizing. She combines her experience to create playful working methods for organizations.


‘A book like this deserves to be read in an unusual manner. The Serious Book of Play is eye-candy and longs for a prominent place on your coffee table. The exquisite graphic design is wonderful and makes you happy. The pleasure in making this book leaps off the pages, which was exactly the intention of Ben Kuiken and Marijne Vos. They have turned playing and crafts into an artform which will inspire consultants in every area to make their work more colorful, as well as their customers and organizations. The book is filled with working methods, various roles of the consultant, and inspiring interviews with experts who talk about taking a different approach. And having the courage to do so.’
Jasmijn Mioch, L&D Advisor and contributor to the Magazine for Organizational Development


By Way of Introduction
Huh? What is a Game Consultant?
The Consultant as Jester
Working Method: Jack in the Box
The Different Phases of a Game (or Meeting)
There Are Many Ways to Have a Meeting
Working Method: Creative Work-out Comping
Having Coffee With: Jaap Boonstra
Working Method: The Ninja-Game
Working Method: Hedgehog and Fox
The Consultant as Cheerleader
Having Coffee With: Mathieu Weggeman
Homo Ludens, the Playing Man
The Organization as a Game
There Are Many Ways to Go in Depth
The Seven Customs of Customers
Create Your Own Working Method
Create Your Own Model
Having Coffee With: Edu Feltmann
Working Method: Gossip
Playing With Complexity
What Kind of Consultant Are You?
The Ghost of Lethal Seriousness
What is the Role of the Consultant?
The Consultant as Confessor
Having Coffee With: Alieke van der Wijk and Henk van der Steen
Working Method: A Playful Way to Have a Meeting
The Consultant as Mechanic
Create Your Own Canvas
There Are Many Ways to Organize
Having Coffee With: Shirine Moerkerken
The Consultant as Spy
Working Method: Magical Problem Solving
What to do When You Don’t Know it Anymore
20 Tricks to Turn Your Working Day Into a Playing Day
Working Method: Core Values Bingo
Having Coffee With: Michael Hebben
Working Method: Quest
Working Method: The Spiral Dynamics Dinner
Create Your Own Game
Working Method: A Mood Board of Your Ideal Organization
Slowing Down and Speeding Up
There Are Many Ways to Check Out (Except for Hotel California)
The Consultant as Philosopher
The Consultant as Cartographer
Having Coffee With: Sandra van Kolfschoten
The Consultant as Oracle
About the Authors

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