Playing To Innovate [PODCAST] – Yesim Kunter

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Join us this week for a fascinating discussion with play expert, Yesim Kunter.

Yesim is an independent consultant who specialises in the application of the psychology and philosophy of play to areas such as product development, culture creation and future scoping.

Yesim was brought up in Turkey and lived in New York, Billund, Denmark and now in London, experiences which gave her a multi-cultural perspective in being keen observer in human behaviour. Beginning her career as a toy design specialist Yesim worked with companies such as Hasbro, Lego and Toys ’R Us. She worked as the Senior Futurist at Hasbro’s London office before setting up as an independent consultant in 2012.

In this podcast Ken Damien and Mandeep Metharu discuss Yesim’s work and approach to problem solving, innovation and the value of play to our work and personal lives.

To reference one of Yesim’s favourite quotes, Alvin Toffler said:

‘To survive, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before… he must understand in greater detail how the effects of acceleration penetrate his personal life, creep into his behavior and alter the quality of existence’

– Future Shock, Alvin Toffle

Join us as we look at the value of play in shaping our work, our world and our future.


0:25 – What is a “Play Expert”?
1:11 – How do you incorporate play into your own life?
5:08 – Play as separation/humour
6:22 – The value of play in attacking monotonous tasks.
7:41 – Principles of Play/Gamification for Life J
9:07 – Huizinga – Order/Value from experimentation
13:20 – Value of play in the context of Futurism and the New Economy
15:10 – Why do adults find it difficult to play?
17:14 – Huizinga – Process vs. Results
20:14 – Play and positive mental health
22:08 – Benefits to not being playful
23:16 – Play as an expression individual will vs. the collective
24:40 – Play to break bad team/corporate habits
27:18 – Executive Policy – Employees must play more J
34:24 – Key departments that need to play? Answers may surprise you!
37:50 – Yesim – If you could work with any 3 companies in the world which would you pick and why?
39:51 – How to incorporate play into your own life.
43:10– Play as a way to break barriers
44:46 – Who are the most playful people you have in your life?
48:00 – Einstein – the Playful scientist
50:10 – Final comments – Huizinga – Language – Word as imperfect symbols.


Kenneth Damien

Kenneth Damien

Vice-Chair at LSEAAL
Ken graduated with a law degree (LLB 2010) from the LSE and is presently the Vice-Chair of the LSE Alumni Association London (LSEAAL). Ken is a practising solicitor with a core focus on the technology sector currently working with Axiom, a global leading alternative legal services provider. He previously worked as In-House Counsel at Aveva, a world-leading industrial software provider. Ken has a particular interest in issues of data protection, anti-piracy and cybersecurity as well as policy discussions surrounding the regulation of emerging technologies including AI and blockchain.
Mandeep Metharu

Mandeep Metharu

Chair at LSEAAL
Mandeep graduated with a law degree (LLB 2010) from the LSE and is presently the Chair of the LSE Alumni Association London (LSEAAL). Previously, Mandeep co-founded Medbiomarkers, a consultancy helping accelerate early stage medical research, playing a key role in forming and helping fund raise $16.6M for an international Autism Consortium. He now supports promising growth companies and venture funds focused in sectors ranging from life sciences, space and education.

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