In our quest to find others who care as passionately about uncommon experiences and meaningful connections as us, we recently we had the pleasure of Zooming* with Viren Thakrar, co-founder of In The Game and all-round high energy, lovely human.
Here’s a snapshot of our discussion and what we learnt from this UK transplant in Melbourne (probably the only person in Melbourne who ‘doesn’t mind the weather’ because it makes him feel ‘right at home’).
Uncommon Conferences: Tell us about yourself and ‘In The Game’ – great T-shirt, by the way!
Viren Thakrar: Oh, thanks! We had a whole bunch of these made pretty early on – it’s great as it takes away one decision every morning.
UC: We need to get onto this. (BK on an aside to MM: I know you like your round-necks, but V-necks suit me better #justsaying)
VT: Haha, yes you should! So… a little bit about me. I love psychology and the role that games can play in our personal and professional lives; and I also happen to love data and analytics – which is quite an unusual combination. For me, it’s about using these fields to help make progressive changes to the people and culture space. In The Game is about helping businesses build a winning culture and creating better places to work.
UC: Wow, that’s a tall order – so how do you do it?
VT: Well, I have a bit of a toolbox of course, and games are a big part of that. Very early on, I realised that games engage people in a completely different way to more traditional techniques. They really help bridge the gap between theory and practice.
UC: Can you give us an example of a game?
VT: Sure. One of the things I've noticed after running 100+ workshops over 14+ years is that many leaders have a tendency to talk too much and not listen enough, so that definitely shaped how I developed my games and exercises.
Quinks has been a big part of the ‘In The Game’ experience – it’s a game that can be played physically and virtually, and it emphasises that key quality of listening.
People thrive when they feel heard and we can build such meaningful connections when we listen and feel listened to.
So that’s the basis of it. And why the name Quinks? Questions that make you think :)
UC: Sounds so simple, but must be so often overlooked.
VT: Exactly right. There are all these important 'C words' at the moment like co-creation, collaboration and even celebration – but none of these can happen if we’re not listening to each other and being hugely empathetic. It’s also about realising what we can do better together than as individuals. Quinks really helps to draw out people’s individual strengths and abilities as well as areas they need help with. How can we “win as a team” is something I’m always emphasising to my clients.
UC: Love it. This has been such an energising Zoom meeting – thank you Viren!
VT: What can I say, when ‘like-spirited’ people come together, there’s always energy to be found. Great to meet you both too.
UC: Oh, we’re so stealing that. Like-spirited is the new like-minded.
*Shoutout to Tamara Eberle from Traction Strategy for introducing us!