About serious noses
- Founders: Merel De Vleeschouwer
- Founded in: 2021 in Boortmeerbeek
- Employees: 1, soon 2
- Money raised: 7200 euros (through a crowdfunding)
- Ultimate goal: To integrate play into a family and many other places in such a way that there is more security and mutual trust, so that children can grow up and adults can maintain their own resilience.
Serious Neuzen, a start-up from Boortmeerbeek, designed a board game together with the social-profit organization NEKTARI from Puurs-Sint-Amands to ensure better communication in families. “The Serious Neuzer” is a board game that aims to strengthen communication and relationships between people, big and small. Innovation Origins spoke with founder Merel De Vleeschouwer for this episode of Today’s Startup.
How did you come up with the idea for this game?
“I would like to contribute to more vulnerability, openness and more connection between people. If someone ‘dare’ to show their vulnerability, it creates instant connection and above all, a lot of beauty. We could use some of that right now. I am not the only one now committed to connection, daring to feel and daring to trust in the sometimes anxious times. I just want to do it my way. And it’s playful, powerful and with a touch of magic. In any relationship (parents/children – partners – colleagues – friends – acquaintances) it is often a challenge to feel safe enough to be completely yourself. It’s a shame. As humans, we are too quick to judge. I want to change that and fully focus on what binds us: Namely love and tolerance. Less judgment and more trust.”
Young people also have a hard time.
“This is evident from the latest health surveys. They are having a hard time, relationships are under high tension, financially it is difficult for many. So more than ever we need ease, to be heard, to be connected and to offer perspective as a parent. The way parents communicate with their children can determine their confidence later. The stability and warmth of the family you grow up in is an important foundation for your later happiness and resilience.”
What is the difference with a classic board game?
“Classic board games mainly create fun and competition. It’s definitely fun. I also go with a full game to win. However, there are few games that consciously focus on training social skills. This game does. The game is a facilitator, a means of getting the conversation going. It guides you to express yourself in a constructive, connecting way and focuses on the possibilities and solutions. it trigging emotional awareness and teaches you to take emotional responsibility. Suppose someone in the game says he or she wants more recognition. Then it will be determined by a question how exactly that person wants to get it. Because we are all different. It becomes more concrete than communicating with each other in everyday life. To achieve such a goal with a game is innovative.”
Who do you want to reach with the game?
“The game is primarily aimed at families. But it can be used much more broadly in all sorts of conditions. It is perfect for use by therapists, family counselors, teachers, etc. This game also comes in a slightly different form for companies. Each leader of a team can use this game to test the engagement with current themes or the mutual relationship between the individuals in his team. And in a very effective way.”
Does the game also work preventively?
“If every family or team plays this game at least once a month, I am convinced that fights and battles can never really become big because you throw these issues on the table in time. On the one hand, the game challenges the more introverted to to come out and on the other hand, the more extroverted will consciously give space and encourage them to listen patiently. The game is guaranteed to have a long-term effect.”
What are your own experiences with this game?
“Of course, I’ve played the game many times even in my blended family, which served as a test audience. It is wonderfully disarming what comes out of those children’s mouths. We were also surprised by how rich their emotional world is and how well they know what they want and especially need. There was always a tear of gratitude. In addition, I use the methodology for team building. You can see that it just works! People always go home positive, but are all grateful for the things that are mentioned and the clarification it provides.”
what are your plans for the future?
“The focus on marketing and sales is now the message to get this game into as many living rooms and as many workplaces as possible. In addition, I will supplement both the business game and the game for private individuals with an online coaching course on non-violent teamwork and non-violent parenting. This way, our income (because my partner will also join us soon) will not only depend on the sale of the game or the team building, but we will also create a passive income to cultivate some stability.
The more success, the more opportunities to spread our mission and the more impact we can make. In addition to that, we also want to give sufficient weightage to the social objective. The choice to work with NEKTARI is one of them. But on the other hand, we will look for opportunities to make this game accessible to people who do not have the same freedom or opportunities financially. “