7 Ways to Bring Creativity and Joy into Your Work in 2019

Happy 2019!
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PignPotato Games began as a forum for several conflict resolution professionals to bring greater creativity to our own work lives through hosting and participating in Game Jams. In the past 5 years, we have continued these discussions and jointly sought to enhance our own (and others’) creativity and enjoyment in our shared work. As a celebration of ongoing creativity and collaboration, we’ve worked together to produce our list of 7 Ways to Bring Creativity and Joy into Your Work in the New Year.

  1. Say Yes to New Adventures
  2. Explore the Possibilities of Social Media
  3. Join (or Design) Unconventional Trainings
  4. Engage in New Forms of Conversation
  5. Self-Identify as a Creative Professional
  6. Expand Your Conflict Resolution Toolbox
  7. Create Your Own New Tools

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take turns posting about each of these topics.

Join us in these ideas and, please, share your own!

Ball pit
GISH 2018 ITEM #3 – Going to work can be the pits… ball pits, to be exact. Hold a serious, executive-level business meeting in an office-turned-ball-pit. @teambrowntrench

Engage in New Forms of Conversation

Amanda shares her top 7 podcast recommendations for folx looking for a different way to learn about conflict resolution topics.

We all fall into patterns in all aspects of our lives; and that includes developing patterns in the ways that we engage in conversations. While social media offer more and more new ways to engage, it’s not surprising that patterns emerge in online conversations, too. Baby Boomers, for example, are the most likely generation to open facebook daily, while a LinkedIn study tells us that 42% of Millennials listen to at least one podcast every week. It’s clear that how and where we engage online (or in person, for that matter), will have a big influence on whom we engage with.

Along with co-host, C.D. Saint, Amanda has been exploring the world of podcasting for conflict resolution professionals. Amanda and CD produce and host Overthinking Conflict – which we all highly recommend! Here, Amanda shares her top 7 podcast recommendations for folx looking for a different way to learn about conflict resolution topics.

You can check out more of Amanda’s thoughts on podcasting here.

Join (or Design) Unconventional Trainings

Enhance your conflict resolution skills though “cross-training”!

Learning skills that are not automatically connected to conflict resolution might be seen as an unconventional approach to continuing professional development, but we encourage everyone to find at least one opportunity for “cross-training” this year! Look for conferences, workshops, online offerings, and more that offer a ‘sideways’ approach to skills we use in our work (e.g. learn more about conflict analysis by joining a book club discussion like this one; check out events at your local universities and colleges for free (and low cost) lectures and conferences; or attend a film festival with a colleague and seek out films that expand your knowledge of culture, conflict, and history.

Let’s all add a jolt to our training choices in 2019! 

Here’s a few of Sharon‘s ideas for 2019:

ClexaCon(April 11-15 in Las Vegas): Panels and workshops on LGBTQ+ representation across media offer insights into not just gender and sexuality, but also intersectional critique of the media that influences our understanding of folx with different lived experiences than our own. (Bonus for me: Attending last year led Darsey and me to a breakthrough idea for a tv pilot on mediation!)

Transformative Mediation by Distance with Wayne Plenert. Two things appeal to me about this training: (1) The learning model being piloted has the potential to allow for much greater skills training in remote and under-served communities, and (2) Wayne is a highly reflective and insightful individual who lives far enough away that I rarely have the chance to join his more extended trainings. (I’m three weeks into this one and glad I signed up!)

2019 CoRe Speaker Series Subscription. Amanda, Darsey and I are all on the board of directors of CoRe, so this is one we all support. For $50, you can attend eight 90-minute speaker events on a wide variety of topics. CoRe focuses on bringing new voices and diverse programming, so you’ll hear about a wide range of topics!

Some great ideas from Vancouver Is Awesome. It just happened that a few of the courses I was thinking about turned up on this list of 100 experiences in Vancouver! I’m in for the hula hooping retreat! Anyone want to join me?

Say Yes to New Adventures!

When we speak about , we often reflect on the ways in which saying yes to invitations that were just a bit outside our comfort zone has been incredibly beneficial in our professional lives. In fact, if Emily hadn’t said yes to coming to Vancouver one weekend in 2014 for a Game Jam (after a 5 minute conversation with Sharon), PignPotato would not exist!

Saying yes to new adventures outside of the professional realm can be just as important – and can have wonderful impacts on the energy and creativity we bring back to our professional lives. We, at PignPotato, all spend a great deal of energy on GISH (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt), for instance: each July, we work as a team of 15 to complete more than 200 weird tasks in a week. This past year, we got so many tasks accomplished that we were runners-up! You can see by a quick glance at our tumblr that we had a lot of fun during that week, but what you can’t see is the energy and focus that we brought back to our work in the period immediately following. Let’s just say that no work roadblocks look particularly challenging when you’ve managed to get four fire trucks together to play a 15 second “song” with their sirens. (Thank you again to our colleagues at the JIBC and !)

Of course, you don’t have to dedicate a week to a scavenger hunt to give yourself a jolt of new energy. Rowan has been tackling this goal one small act of kindness at a time since she began working with the non-profit organization Random Acts. Random Acts encourages folx to engage in frequent small acts of kindness through its #KindnessHero program, and Rowan is working her way through the levels. While she would certainly be kind without the promise of virtual badges, there’s a certain motivation to be found setting specific goals.


And, of course, the acts don’t need to be small. When a celebrity team chose to run a #BadIdeaTour marathon as part of a Random Acts fundraiser, Rowan (and Sharon) jumped at the opportunity to create an even worse idea! They hiked the 95-mile Isle of Man coastline – in the middle of winter, with heavy winds and minimal daylight hours. They raised funds for Random Acts, of course, but also re-charged creativity! And, they experienced an enormous amount of kindness themselves on the trip – an entire community seems to have been involved in resolving their flat tire, and almost as many in tracking down a missing laptop. Kindness really does inspire more kindness, so it’s no surprise that both Rowan and Sharon are entering 2019 with goals around helping others.

Here are some of the new adventures we are saying yes to in 2019:

  • Rowan is aiming to complete 5 more #KindessHero levels.
  • Emily said yes to joining the volunteer social media team at Ignite Seattle and is learning new tools and working with a great new group of folx outside the conflict resolution and legal fields.
  • Amanda has plans to learn to cook with insects! (We think she means cooking insects rather than finding insect chefs to hang out with…)
  • Cailean said yes to starting a new job – Marine Science Educator at Bamfield Marine Science Centre!
  • Sharon plans to host a Game Jam focused on creating edible games – games that are made from edible pieces that are consumed through the game or games that result in the creation of edibles or… anything the participants can imagine!
  • Mark is taking a course in Transformative Mediation – which is likely to offer some new perspectives to take back to his tax law practice.
  • Darsey said yes to joining a book club to get back into reading post-concussion (and worse, post-film school!)

What new adventures will you say yes to in 2019?

#FF – Explore the Possibilities of Social Media

what-is-ff1It’s the first Follow Friday of 2019 so we’re encouraging folx to explore some of the ways Twitter can bring more creativity and joy to our work. We’ve contributed a few ideas of accounts we follow to inspire us and make us smile, and our reasons for recommending them to you!

Emily @stormyafternoon

  • I follow fellow mediators as a way of staying in contact with my dispute resolution community:
  • I follow Chief Judge Dillard because he is a great example of how a neutral can be a part of the twittersphere.
  • I follow legal tech folks as it inspires me to think about how legal tech connects with conflict resolution.
  • And I love dogs, so I follow this one because it makes me smile.

Darsey @darseyrsm

It never fails to be encouraging and charming to see happy dogs who couldn’t possibly be rated lower than 10/10. It’s a feel-good kind of account and makes me happy whenever I see a post.
During NaNo (November) and Camp NaNo (April and July), there are longer and shorter word sprints that come with optional prompts to help break through writer’s block. This account also offers an active community of people writing at the same time as you, and an opportunity to celebrate successful chunks of writing with others.

Sharon @ssuth

  • Game to Grow – @gametogrow  I’m inspired by folx exploring the ways in which games can do so much more than entertain.
  • Orkney Library – @orkneylibrary  I happened to travel to Orkney in 2017, but you don’t need to have ever been there to enjoy the creativity and humour of the library account! Makes me happy and is a great example of engaging through Twitter.
  • Dr. Katherine J. Mack – @astrokatie An astrophysicist with 290K followers for a reason: she’s funny, insightful, and shares ideas and knowledge I’d never encounter in my usual academic/practice circles.


Conflict Resolution Week in BC

November 3rd to November 10th, 2018 is Conflict Resolution Week in British Columbia. Mediate BC is celebrating with a Virtual Expo of Facebook Live chats.

Mediate BC roster mediators Amanda and Sharon took a few minutes to chat about collaborative games – including Zombie Fight or Flight

Check out more Virtual Expo presentations this week by visiting Mediate BC’s Facebook page. We encourage you to check out:

  • Amanda on The Power of Private Conversations, Tuesday, Nov. 6th at 8pm
  • CoRe Conflict Resolution Society Writers Group, Friday, Nov. 9th at noon
  • Sharon on Can Fiction Make You a Better Conflict Resolver?, Saturday, Nov. 10th at noon



International Tabletop Day!

It’s International Tabletop Day!

We taking a moment to celebrate collaborative games and encouraging you to play one today!

If Zombie Fight or Flight makes an appearance at your game day send us a picture and we’ll feature a few on them here!

Plus we’d love to hear which other collaborative games make an appearance this year. Amanda tells us, “My kids are insisting on their current favourite Forbidden Island and potentially my brother and I will get a chance to finish Pandemic Legacy.” How about you?


NWDR Scavenger Hunt – LICRSH!

LICRSH buttonsNext week (March 22-23), PignPotato Games will be hosting its second Legendary International Conflict Resolution Scavenger Hunt (LICRSH) at the Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference in Seattle!

Join us at 1:30 p.m. on March 22 for an introductory session! Come with a pre-formed team of up to 4, or find teammates there. LICRSH will be an amazing opportunity to meet colleagues and get to know fellow conflict resolution professionals in an informal and enjoyable setting.

Why a Scavenger Hunt?

Here’s how we see it:

  • Scavenger Hunts allow us to practice many of the same skills we use as conflict resolution professionals.
  • Scavenger Hunts are fun!
  • Science tells us that we learn better and retain more if we have fun while we are learning.

So… Scavenger Hunts offer a great Professional Development opportunity for Conflict Resolution professionals!

We’ve identified our list of 10 links between Scavenger Hunts and Conflict Resolution work – both involve:

  • Collaboration
  • Varieties of the Creative Process
  • Problem-solving
  • Movement/Physicality
  • The Power of Silly
  • Sharing the Silly
  • Risk-taking
  • Making “Asks”
  • Tapping into Memories
  • Kindness

We’ll say more about each of these in blog posts this week, but join us next week to experience the ways in which LICRSH taps into all 10!

Podcast on Collaborative Games

Amanda-SemenoffBack in June 2017, PignPotato’s Amanda Semenoff joined forces with C.D. Saint to launch a new podcast called Overthinking Conflict: Exploring the Business, Skills, and Styles of Peacemaking. They’ve been producing great content for anyone interested in peacemaking work, and it’s well worth checking out the whole series.

1514706779673More recently, however, Amanda took the time to record her thoughts on Collaborative Games. Of course, she talks about Zombie Fight or Flight, but the focus is more on collaborative games generally and their potential in shifting dynamics in conflict. Check it out for interesting reflections on the role games can play in peacemaking work!

LICRSH Winners!

We are excited to announce the winners of the first ever Legendary International Conflict Resolution Scavenger Hunt!

The winning team completed EVERY task!

Congratulations to The Resolutionaries!

The Resolutionaries are: Wendy Lakusta (team leader), Cheryl Berry, Tamara Throssell, Sandy Milne, and Colleen Spier.

The Resolutionaries will each receive a Listening Bot (from Gary Hirsch’ BotJoy) to help them in their mediation practice and, perhaps, beyond.

Listening Bots

(Here‘s a few ideas on how to use bots in mediation. We’re hoping to hear lots of new ideas from this incredibly creative team!)


Scoring was incredibly close amongst the top 3 teams! Congratulations to the second and third place teams who are both very well represented in our highlights!

  • Team WinWin
  • The Parleying Pirates

Honourable Mentions go The DenoueMonsters and The Common Grounders who also made the highlights reel for best submissions on specific tasks!

Check out highlights here!

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