Ellis on playful living: "this is my personal library of what I've learnt so far while I'm still mischievously exploring..."

Ellis, play alchemist

From a spontaneity to a challenge?

17/02/2019 18:20

In april last year, I launched my book Apply Play • to get ahead of the game, and have been receiving compliments plus suggestions via social media, per mail and in person since then. To my surprise, many people sent me a photo of their book Apply Play, and I feel very honoured to have been receiving these so spontaneously… so I got motivated to start a new hobby of collecting these… so now I need you reader te help me complete my collection… do you have a photo to add here please?



Are you a playful citizen?

15/01/2019 14:39

I am extremely proud to be part of this book: The Playful Citizen • Civic Engagement in a Mediatized Culture” published by Amsterdam University Press.

“In the last decade, digital media technologies and developments have given rise to exciting new forms of ludic, or playful, engagements of citizens in cultural and societal issues. From the Occupy movement to playful city-making to the gameful designs of the Obama 2008 and Trump 2016 presidential campaigns, and the rise of citizen science and ecological games, this book shows how play is a key theoretical, methodological, and practical principle for comprehending such new forms of civic engagement in a mediatized culture.



ellis in finance land

21/12/2018 22:03

Beginning of this month I was invited to give a Lecture.nl at InsingerGilissen about play and the impact of play. There was great interaction and many questions were asked, one question is sticking with me since then…. “how do you balance reward and punishment in game design?” …. in that moment i answered that that is exactly one of the hard things to do, first based on assumptions, then tested with players, to find the sweet spot or perfect balancing of both opposites, and ideally an adaptive balance, depending on the players activity, background and preferences…
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Alice, apply play, english, serious

The movie puzzles

17/11/2018 22:21

I saw this movie and was sooo impressed with the part were he explains to here about making puzzles:

(she) why are we wasting all this time doing puzzles?
(he) it’s a way… to control the chaos
(she)that’s ridiculius. Ok, what’s the point?
(he) life is messy. My success, you here now. There is nothing we can do to control anything. But when you complete a puzzle, when you finish it, you know that you have made all the right choices. No matter how many wrong pieces you tried to fit into a wrong place, but at the very end, everything makes one perfect picture. What other pursuits can give you that kind of perfection? faith? ambition? wealth? love? No. Not even love can do that, Mata.


Alice, english, puzzel

Bridging art & the audience

Invited by The Village at DEPO in Istanbul november 2018; a great weekend with two workshops using a playful proces and elements to elicit the dialog.

This was the workshop invite to participants: Read more


apply play, event, workshop

Games for Health 2018

01/11/2018 18:47

In nov 2012 I was invited to talk at Games for Health Europe Conference in Amsterdam… that was also one of my first talks about play on stage ever…. now 6 years later I have been so lucky to have given many talks and workshops worldwide, about the value of play, the impact of games. And I get to play with the audience on the topic, which is most great to see, how the subject Game makes people game!



a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex en Ambiguous Workshop on play

27/10/2018 12:36

Together with 11 managers we developed in teams three game concepts on wicked problems that require a clever solution… at the VUCA Academy a Master in Managing Information & Sustainable Change (MISC) at the Radboud University. VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex en Ambiguous, so how other then a playful method to collaborate on the wickedness of these topics? Great work done, trying to go from topdown to a bottom up approach and play-test each others assumptions to make steps towards a feasible, desirable and achievable result. Oh yes, and having fun while doing so ; P

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apply play, article, design thinking, english, workshop


24/10/2018 22:40

Very proud to play a part in Ina Smittenberg’s book: Organitopia with the topic of applying play. I love Ina’s approch of three angle’s to make a change how we can make a change, although not at all easy to translate to English 1 “het goede” = good 2 “het ware” = true 3 “het schone” = beauty. Let us all persuade her to have it translated soon, since there is so much value in this approach!

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book, english, play

Record week in 9 days 7 full day conference!

18/10/2018 11:51

This week in october, I was dealing – within a nine day span –  7 conference days (including one full Designathon day) with 7 times a performance on stage!!! I was worried and stressed (many might not know, but I used to have stagefright severly some years ago)…. this time I managed to have a lot of fun playing around with the topics of play with the audience. Biggest challenge was inviting people to play, while ‘starving’ for lunch and drinks at the NRC Live’s The Future of Education program, but the mouse did manage to find the cheese, so we did manage to collaborate, even though many were getting up, extra applaus for that audience! The other events were the Games for Health Europe and THNK FSTVL. I learned so many condensed lessons, and had interesting talks, now I need to relax and recharge (plus contemplate)


Alice, apply play, english, event, favorite

Ethics in design (and life)

02/10/2018 15:30

While developing (digital) tools or products for people to use, we always encounter ethic matters and questions to address, we often try to think we can avoid these, and leave these matters to “common sense” however we play a role when we build products… and to be honest, I personally love the thinking process on these topics when we try to innovate, solve a problem, or make a change with new concepts. Thinking of life as a system, looking at peoples behaviour as patterns, and providing people with a dilemma, is what we do in game design a lot.

Via a workshop I was asked in teams to make decisions together in the moral machine… a truly interesting experience to learn more about the person sitting next to you, who you just met, or the person you thought to have known for years… we had to decide one option together, and then see what morals do: The moral machine on machine learning 


apply play, behaviorchange, data-visualisation, english, favorite