Innovate Like Apple with Genius Games

April 4, 2017
by Rebecca Johannsen

Did you know that Apple Computers tests all of their new products on eight-year-olds? Why? Because as children, we started with “beginner minds” that allowed us to explore infinite possibilities and tap into unlimited creativity.

I developed Genius Games for Apple in the 1980s as part of programmer Alan Kay’s think tank Vivarium. We began by playing games with children, but the games quickly evolved to help the Geniuses at Apple to push past their own boundaries and create the products we all rely on today.

Our current business culture works on warp speed. The person or company who has the next big idea – wins. Genius Games is a new approach to discovering what is not known—that next idea, big or small, that next step for a group of researchers, corporate leaders, tech creators, marketing branders — or that next step for mankind.

How do we access that potential? We do what children do: we play. The games are designed specifically to help participants lower associative barriers to reset back to your 'beginner mind'; see the world from alternate points of view; rethink the way we interact with time and space; and tap into the playfulness and joyousness that comes from the creative process.

Who plays?

  • Corporate leaders searching for a new vision or product
  • Professionals in health, well-being, or medicine
  • Researchers seeking a breakthrough
  • Innovators, looking to create or reshape a service or business
  • Designers, communicators and artists
  • Educators and policy thinkers
  • Professionals who desire a more innovative path to discovery
  • Anyone who thinks they have an idea
  • Anyone who believes in the value of ideas

Want to play with us and develop the next generation of ideas and products? We’re leading the class Innovate Like Apple: Play your way to new ideas with Genius Games on April 19th from 8-12 at Rady. Click here to enroll.

About the faculty

Jill Wright conceived and developed Genius Games while working as a researcher in Apple’s ground-breaking Vivarium Project, led by Alan Kay. She has spent her entire life embracing the realm of originality and creative thought. Her work has been taught in the IT Masters program at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Rebecca Johannsen holds a Ph.D in Theatre from the University of California Irvine and UC San Diego joint doctoral program. She has been working with leaders from wide-ranging fields for over seven years to enhance their communication skills.

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