Fellow Since 1995
This profile was prepared when Bohuslav Blazek was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Bohuslav Blazek is seizing a moment when the people of the Czech Republic, and generally in the Central European region, are committed to reform and change. In order for them to reinvigorate their communities, especially in the villages beyond cosmopolitan Prague, it is necessary for people to come together and work out common goals. But Czechs have little or no experience with positive, nonauthoritarian communication and group organization: historically, local creative solutions to community problems have been discouraged by dominant political systems. This phenomenon goes beyond the communist era. Over centuries "solutions" have been imposed on Czech communities, whether from the Central Committee in Moscow or the Habsburg monarchy in Vienna. Bohuslav addresses this Central European context and history with his expertise for triggering free communication and teamwork. He has developed distinctive techniques, entirely without the input of Western literature, that he calls "soft games." Unlike others who use games in their work, Bohuslav's games offer solutions to very concrete problems with which groups, organizations and communities are struggling to cope. The use of games in this fashion is particularly helpful because it is a subtle and relatively easy way to change attitudes and stimulate creativity. Bohuslav's work has drawn the attention of President Havel, who asked Bohuslav to facilitate a meeting where residents of Prague gathered to discuss restoration of their city.