Serious Play

Leadership & Communication for Innovation

helping organizations and individuals learn the skills and mindset for full participation



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“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out ... because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you... So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm... and walk through it, step by step... You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.” – Haruki Murikami, from Kafka on the Shore


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meet laura CARMICHAEL

As a learning & development professional, Laura brings together the unusual combination of over a decade of experience as a corporate trainer in leadership and innovation facilitation with creativity skills from the performing arts, coaching and intercultural competencies. She knows first-hand what high-performance means. She lives in Amsterdam where she is an innovation facilitator at THNK, School for Creative Leadership and Innovation, and is a consultant to many businesses in the EU & USA in leadership, innovation, inclusion and engagement. She has designed and leads a variety of training programs at . Click for full bio.

photo: Michel Marang

photo: Michel Marang

Her burning question of the moment: How might we not only thrive in the system as we know it, but shape the future in order to move the world forward?

"What an adventure! This work is for anyone in a high-powered position who wants to step it up a notch."

– A.W., research economist, Boston USA

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in a fast changing world...

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Agility • Creativity • Empathy • Purpose • Presence • Leadership

In-Company Programs

Need applicable tools for thriving in times of uncertainty? Serious Play offers experiential learning programs, coaching and effective methodologies for leadership that align effectively with your business strategy. We demystify the skills for change and help you practice them until mastered. Our specialties include:

  • leading cognitively diverse teams for innovation
  • integrating Design Thinking & Agile in many contexts
  • applying a creative, open, learning mindset to business
  • gaining user insights with original tools that deepen awareness & empathy
  • leadership presence
  • four skills for overcoming the "Power Paradox"
  • developing an engaged work culture with inclusive communication skills
  • affordable support for start-ups who want to leverage diversity from the get-go
  • comprehensive culture change and behavior change in established companies

We design custom leadership programs for you, or interface with your existing program. We have tools to overcome the inevitable struggles that arise and methodologies to make lasting behavior change. We are there for you both in preparing the environment, simulating new kills, jumping in to (co)-lead managing a team or project, and for the long-term support that creates change for success. Go here for descriptions of our full offerings.

Individual coaching sessions

Workshops & Retreats


Serious Play offers a five step methodology to tailor-make a leadership program that will offer results: We analyze your situation comprehensively, so we can design a program tailored to your needs. Then we train your muscles, through fun, engaging learning experiences, and help you set up practice methodologies to apply learnings in real life. Finally, after finding your own best practices, you scale lasting change from within with your own leaders.

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Laura is a world class trainer.
— P.L. – Executive Search Consultant
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“If you’re willing to fail interestingly, you’ll tend to succeed interestingly.”

- writer Edward Albee