When we developed the design-thinking system we call StoryJam™, we envisioned many shapes and sizes to fit the requirements of different innovation design programs. Ten years and 50+ Jams later, it turns out we were right- although we sure couldn’t have predicted the variety of projects back in 2001. StoryJam harnesses, in a very thoughtful and methodical way, the power of a stories created by a diverse group of people around a design goal. That goal can be quite varied. We’ve used StoryJam to create new resorts, new consumer products, new destination brands, new solutions for the military, and even a new city in China. But we couldn’t be dogmatic about what StoryJam is and still be successful across so wide a solution set. Today there are flavors and sizes of StoryJam programs with flexible modules that plug-and-play. One version is what we’ve called a StoryJam PlayShop™. We pioneered the PlayShop with our good friend Jim Brazell (www.ventureramp.com), working with educators across the U.S. on how to move the notion of STEM to the much more robust and viable approach of TEAMS putting the ARTS in the mix with science, technology, engineering and math. It’s now broadened and been used to help design high-tech facilities and to reengineer the organization of large companies. The key to PlayShop, besides story, is understanding that PLAY is natively human and that far from “outgrowing it”, it is essential for our health and at the core of all innovation.
Last week we got to do a PlayShop for our friends at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This one was all about how to create a next-generation of performing arts education. We assembled a phenomenal team of educators, each with their own very successful program, and we played! The outcome was enough direction to begin the design of a new way to think of these curricula and a truly energized cohort of professionals with this new possibility for partnership as a unifying goal. It was a blast and over the next few months the work the team did yesterday will begin to show up as fresh new programs to teach aspiring artists—from 3 to 93 to take their place on the stage.