Shaping futures

Sometimes I reflect on holding on to the status quo and changing into a new situation. I think about what I know or can. Or what I want to achieve but have not yet reached. Or with whom I would like to do this. 

Again and again, i realize this cannot succeed without a playful mindset. Play, learn and create help us to change perspectives. And when we change our point of view, the world changes too. In this way we - together with our teams or clients - shape new futures. 

How to change your perspective in a playful and serious manner, is something I love to show you. And let you experience. Read on and have fun! 

Who is Yuen Yen?

So after March 2020 I would describe myself as a ‘re-born’ design thinker with roots in creative change- and learning processes and a lot of working experience in complex, professional organisations. I often consciously and unconsciously end up in the innovation sweet spot. I wonder about the people I meet. And somehow feel ‘... rescued’ by them. Therefor making me motivated to contribute to their goals. On LinkedIn you can read for who and whose goals I made an effort.

What characterises my working style?

Playful mindset, behaviour and actions

Homo Ludens, A Study of the Play-Element in Culture by Johan Huizing (1938), famous Dutch historian. A marvelous read – worth your time. Man playing, he meant ús. You and me. Play has shaped us as we are now. As human beings and as society. We are designed for play, but we have forgotten about it. Despite the clues from researchers as dr Stuart Brown (Science of Play) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow.

I have applied play and games as learning and change interventions. In large and small teams. In Dutch and international (training-)sessions. Online and offline. I can see the effect: play is by far the easiest way for change. To change yourself and help others to change.

From complexity to clarity

We - as human beings - are very skilled to complicate things. To clarify complexity, needs another approach. Another language. I use visual language to translate what is said, into image. Having these concrete images helps to get grip on what is intended. What we intend, is where we can collaborate to ignite change.


Clients and participants of sessions have frequently told me: I am unconventional. I think and act in an unconventional way. Of course, I cannot see that of myself. I simply tell you what I think, where do these thoughts come from. And how they emerged. That is where our dialogue starts.


I grow older and older ;-) Not a bad thing per se. But anyway. The antidote for this natural process is learning. At least for me. Reflecting. Why do I do what I do? How does this serve others? And was it good enough? Reflecting. And then pass this ‘learning virus’ on to you.


Work is just work. How incredible would it be, to work with fine people, who complement one's knowledge and skills. Who do not the same thing. I love working with these people. 


I collaborate with parthers as: Design Thinkers Academy Global, Competence Factory (Utrecht), David Kester & Associates (Londen), International Institute of Learning (Parijs), Learning Experience Design (Utrecht).

The focus is learning how to apply design thinking'. And how to facilitate design thinking sessions. A more advanced level. We should take better care of our learning brain. How to do this, I will show you with brain principles and game mechanisms. 

Sometimes you will find me in-company. Solving a relevant problem with your own team using design thinking, boost your team spirits.


Play is a universal phenomenon. Everyone used to play and enjoy that. While we grew up, we left play behind. We become adults. Our beliefs about work, people and ourselves became serious and rational. No time to waste on playing! That is how I thought back then.

Designed for play

By immersing myself profoundly in play and game design (games for learning purposes) , I discovered what this phenomenon means to our human brain, behaviours and learning. I experimented within the constraints of the national government. I did not stop and traveled abroad.

'When you stop playing, you start dying' is my Tedtalk, in which I tell about how playful learning contributes to forging a team, opening a growth mindset, and deploying learnings. Spoken with a lot of respect and admiration for these judges from the MENA-region.

Delivering a Tedtalk was a true challenge. Content and form both carried for the message to allow more play in work settings. Harvest the fruits of playfulness.

I love these conversations with peer trainers and facilitators or participants of my learning sessions. The first Soundcloud podcast was called Fan of Fun.

Playing, enjoying and learning are first-choice activities to do with other people. During the pandemic I found same-minded design thinkers to connect with. To support each other but also to learn from one and other.

How special to feel physical, cultural and language constraints disappear, when you have the same drives to work and play. To help others and crafting my own learning experiences.  

Experimenting and learning; and failing and get up again are different sides of the same medal. In the international design thinker’s community Wednesday Web Jam, we call that 'failing forward, there is no other way'. We celebrated our 2nd jubileum on YouTube with cake from Rio de Janeiro - again.