Using science and sense to collectively thrive

I’m a researcher, teacher, facilitator, and author working across sectors to help build new hybrid environments that promote human flourishing. I apply developmental science principles and practices to all my transdisciplinary collaborations. I work with a range of individuals, small-group collectives, and larger organizations, pulling together expertise across disciplines, to build social technologies and infrastructures that elevate human potential.

Currently, I am focused most intensely on helping small creative collectives thrive under the premise that these collectives are the context through which Inner Development Goals (IDGs) are realized and, in turn, these IDGs significantly impact on our abilities to reach Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 What We Are Building

Liminal Learning is a communal launch into purpose-driven adulthood.

We help adolescents navigate their transition to adulthood with hope, self-confidence, and curiosity. The program combines social and emotional learning, intergenerational mentorship, and pragmatic apprenticeships over week-long retreats in stunning natural environments. We teach a methodology for healthy philosophical inquiry called Neither/Nor : Students learn, through play and experimentation, how and when to apply their intellect versus intuition. They leave with the questions that will guide their creative aspirations and peers who share their drive for impact.

Current Work

I spend about half of my time as a scientist and researcher at McMaster University (in Canada) and I’m the Director for the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) Lab (in the Netherlands). The lab aims to build and empirically test digital games and apps that are based on solid behavioural science and combine data-driven design with stunning art that insures we retain, delight, and inspire users.

The other half of my efforts are dedicated to transformative collaborations with social entrepreneurs and leaders in education. I run workshops, courses, and culture-change curricula that provide hybrid solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face in the digital age. We come together to build strategies that combine digital and face-to-face energy so that organizations can go beyond productivity and achievement statistics to focus on psychological thriving, mental health, and social connection.

My portfolio of projects and partnerships are diverse, but they are all underpinned by an “effective optimism” approach. That is, I am fiercely optimistic about the future of work, learning, and community-building, but this optimism is grounded in science and participatory research.

Useful Links

For a list of my publications and media contacts, please see:

For my research lab’s publications, research projects, evidence-based games, and videos that explain our mission in its various manifestations, see:

For my Google Scholar profile, see:

I’m also Chief Science Officer of The PlayNice Institute, an organization that seeks to build and distribute evidence-based games that promote emotional health and well-being for children and youth; for more information, see:

Recent Blogs

Evocative thought experiments with augmented reality

Evocative thought experiments with augmented reality

I've been thinking a lot about what augmented reality (AR) technology is going to mean for the next generation of young children who grow up with it. Not this generation, no, they're still a little too early to count. I mean the kids who will be born picking up AR...

Bedtiming: A different sort of sleep-training guide

Bedtiming: A different sort of sleep-training guide

This post is part of a 26-week writing project, shared with my son at Julian Jotting I co-wrote a book about babies and sleep and how to make those two things work better together. About 12 years ago, Marc Lewis and I wrote a book called Bedtiming, a baby sleep guide...

DEEP diving into virtual reality

DEEP diving into virtual reality

You're at work and you were just berated by your boss. You have your last exam of the year, and you feel totally unprepared. You're about to visit your doctor for biopsy results. You've had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY bad day... Now imagine you could snap your...