With a background in art, advertising and environmental activism, Elena Simons (1977) has been working as a Social Inventor for seven years. She is creative director of Wonder, a Dutch non-profit organisation that makes social action fun.
One successful art project is the visit of a group of welfare recipients to the wealthy in their mansions, bringing symbolic gifts as a way to say thank you for taxes. On another occasion a luxury department store unknowingly sold high quality goods from the trash, after Elena and friends had put these back on the shelves with real price tags.
Fun with Muslims, a political gift book, was published April 2004 in the Netherlands. It includes many funny adventures with Muslims and tips for readers who would also like to enjoy Muslims.
Recently, Elena Simons’ second book came out under the title All the World’s Major Problems and Their Solutions. Besides that she is working on several recent projects of Wonder, including the Happy Company, which spreads happiness throughout the country, and the Cool Women Buying Army, a gang of women who love sustainable shopping.
Lectures and workshops
Elena Simons regularly provides lectures and workshops on the subject of fungagement, or how to have loads of fun by changing the world. There are many serious problems in the world. But why confront them in serious ways? Express your rebellious energy! Engage in actions that will surprise and charm your audience, thus catalysing real change.
In her lectures, Elena Simons explains why fun is so valuable and how it can be applied to social or environmental issues. During workshops, the participants conduct brainstorm sessions to make plans for exciting actions. For example, students in Hong Kong developed a free flying action during which they treated passerbys to a brief flight in their arms. An employee of a Dutch broadcasting firm came up with the idea that traffic authorities might photograph people who respect the speed limit and go to their house to offer them a framed print in thanks.