Ian Neumaier is insatiably curious, and describes himself as “one-half fun-finder, one-half problem-finder”, the result is an entrepreneurial spirit reconciling the two.
Here, Ian explains how his past set him up to approach his work through a lens of problem-solving for the good of others. Along the way, Ian discovered the importance of identifying and accounting for his own limitations, as well as the overwhelming importance of seeking collaboration with others.
At the age of 16, Ian began sharing the skills he developed as a competitive martial artist, boxer, and powerlifter when he became a coach and program director for former Pittsburgh Steeler, Craig Wolfley. After interning at the world-renowned Athletes’ Performance Institute, Ian realized the vast disparagement that existed between those calling themselves health service providers and their consumers within the wellness industry. Ian says, “Consumers consistently undervalue useful health-services, while accidentally over-valuing unfounded, often neglectful, services”.
Ian’s solution: Educate!
How? Encourage and reward self-directed computer-based learning within fitness centers. While promoting this project at emergent-technology gatherings, Ian discovered that such a system could also prove useful for researchers studying computer-based learning by providing access to an untapped demographic. Additionally, researchers could potentially avoid paying subjects, instead, they could leverage free services, from fitness centers, in exchange for participation. Win-win-win, right?
Ian failed to actualize his idea. (However, Ian’s former mentor, with the help of Intel, have done a pretty good job of creating something very similar).
Ian explains that his tunnel vision, which focussed on the merits of the idea and its usefulness instead of its challenges, along with a refusal to recognize his own personal limitations, ensured that the concept wouldn't reach maturity.
Years later, after consulting for several businesses, and developing a new, more honest perspective, Ian is back to solving problems for others. This time, Ian is proud to have an overwhelming amount of support and collaboration. In fact, Ian explains that he allowed the needs and challenges expressed by local organizations and experts to develop his business model for him. Through a series of meetings and outreach events, Ian was able to identify exactly how his skill-set could be applied to solving problems for others.
Ian launched Find Some Flow and hit the ground running in pursuit of his mission to “free play and playfulness for the masses”. As Ian says, “It is 2015, and it’s about time that the pursuit of wellness becomes synonymous with the pursuit of happiness. Anything less is ridiculous”. The two-person, volunteer team of Find Some Flow is addressing some of the toughest problems that keep the masses from embracing their playfulness. In less than a year of receiving 501(c)3 status, Find Some Flow has already served over two dozen human-service- and community-organizations.
Find Some Flow projects include:
Developing accessible playground games, equipment, and lockers for installation at Pittsburgh area playgrounds.
StoneHenge The Game — a fully-inclusive kinetic game to be enjoyed together regardless of ability.
Wheelchair accessible paintball games and nature walks for adults.
Live Game Labs — where participants are taught kinetic-game creation.
Get Game Fit classes — where fitness is delivered through game-play.
For a history lesson: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
For fun: The Well Played Game by Bernie De Koven
For game making: The Art of Game Design; A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell
For provocation: On Liberty; and other writings of John Stuart Mill
Ian’s Challenge; Play Every Day! Ian explains that we may be surprised to learn the ways in which we already engage in “play” without being fully mindful of it. Now, he’s asking you to go one step further- to mindfully experience play everyday. Even during the busiest and most stressful of days, Ian makes time for mindful play by committing to his own challenge of 365 days of bubble blowing!
See StoneHenge The Game in action:
Play Pittsburgh: Discovering Your Child’s Inner Athlete
Publication number: US20090144084 A1
Connect with Ian: