Get Out and Play


Stuart Brown champions play. Doctor, psychiatrist, founder of the National Institute for Play, I first learned about his work when he appeared in conversation with Krista Tippett and Paul Holdengräber several years ago at the New York Public Library.

Since then he's been a featured speaker at a TED-sponsored conference on play, published a book--Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, and regularly co-teaches a Fast-Company-featured class--From Play to Innovation--with IDEO's Brendan Boyle at Stanford's d. school. At the same time, in the spirit of that d. school class, play has become something of a trending topic for companies seeking to catalyze creativity and original thinking in their employees and workplaces, and it continues, as always, to be a subject of passionate consideration in parenting.

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Love Life

Ayse Birsel is a designer, a Turkish designer. In tandem with her Senegalese husband, Bibi Seck, she runs award winning studio Birsel + Seck. They've created products for Hermann Miller, Target, Hasbro and Johnson & Johnson and were among the designers featured in Patricia Moroso's colorful and celebrated M'Afrique salon at the 2009 Milan furniture fair. In May last year they participated in Headspace, a symposium on scent sponsored by SEED Magazine, Parsons and MoMA.

Birsel + Seck's trademark design process is an innovation tool they call Deconstruction + Reconstruction--break stuff down, let it get messy, put it back together again, even better than you found it. Ayse has road-tested Deconstruction + Reconstruction not only in her work, but also in her life, and she is using it as the framework for a workshop, Design the Life you Love, to teach others to stir things up, give their perspective a good shake, move things forward.

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In Play

On Sunday the Green Bay Packers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in Super Bowl XLV. Probably unsurprisingly, I'm not a die-hard football fan. But every year, around mid-January, I start paying attention.

Inevitably, I have no idea which teams have made it to the playoffs, but I get sucked into watching because the season's final games are full of passion, heart, exceptional skill and unbelievable teamwork. So I tune in. And usually, I'm rewarded--I still lose my breath at the crazy, game winning set of plays by Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the last 59 seconds of Super Bowl XLII in 2008.

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