alacrity in action
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A few days ago I had the great opportunity to facilitate a product box innovation game session with Yves Hanoulle at XP Days Benelux 2012.

The conference itself is a perfect place to meet and be inspired by experienced, enthusiastic and energetic people. After all, what else would draw ten people into a session which:

  • was the last session of a very long day
  • started after 20.30 and kept everyone till 22.00
  • required creativity, active participation and artistic expression
  • was an alternative to an agile quiz or hanging out at the bar
  • required putting up with two man with a dodgy moustache


Girls and boys, thank you so much for coming!

We have decided to run the session together as earlier this year Yves and I have had a chance to participate together in Luke Hohmann‘s innovations game training in London. We have also both used different Innovation Games ® in our work and found them a very useful tool.

Since it was the 10-years anniversary of the conference we have picked the product box activity and decided to focus it on the next 10 years. The task our participants faced was to build a box for an event they would pick out of the many other conferences on a shelf.

Lost of interesting, clever and unexpected ideas were put forward, some highlighted what’s already good about XP Days and some suggested changes going forward. Here is a rough cut of some of the things the product boxes for 2022 highlighted:

  • hands-on sessions
  • games (application, ideas, practice)
  • learning
  • networking
  • beer
  • code and more code (some suggested it will be viewed as a fun archaic artefact in 10 years)
  • software that makes the world a better place
  • software that help our planet stay green
  • included in the conference a day of free on-site coaching
  • held in space
  • in 2022 XP Days will be called “ex-XP days”
  • open to wider community (no longer mainly developers and coaches, for nerds and normal people)
  • more diversity among the participants
  • will leave the methodologies of today (eg. XP, Scrum, Kanban) behind
  • still good value for money
  • changing the world of work together
  • feed you brain

One of my favourite quotes was:

The XP Days conference is no longer a big-bang release once a year, it is now available on demand, every day, whenever you need it

I’m already looking forward to what will happen next.

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I’ve spent the last two days at yet another excellent edition of the XP Days Benelux conference. It was my first time in the Dutch location and I have really enjoyed the area.

Since I walked from the local train station to the conference centre on the way in I decided to do the same on the way back. However, as I was about to leave the grounds strolling along the drive, a car stopped by and the driver kindly offered a lift to the station.

I couldn’t refuse this generous offer and found myself chatting away with the lady who, it turned out, just finished her shift working at the conference centre. She inquired about my stay and the impressions of the location as well as the local food. We had a good chat about the local town and I safely arrived at the local station just in time for an earlier train. She said goodbye and invited me to visit them again next year.

It’s absolutely amazing to experience any such little acts of selfless and genuine help and somehow it made me think about motivation. I spent two days at a conference and at least two sessions I went to discussed employee motivation (and I’m sure many more did too). We kept analysing and exploring what to do to motivate people we work with, how to create the right environment.

Yet clearly we missed an opportunity. We should have also taken some time to observe and talk to the people at the Kappelerput centre. They have clearly created an environment where employees cared about their workplace. I’m sure this would’ve been as valuable lesson as the sessions we run.