TOOL: Play your way to innovation

This recent Forbes article is just one of many shedding light on a secret success for innovation. It’s a secret your company not have been told, or worse, one you have been ignoring:


Many adults can’t remember the last time we took the time to just “play”. But companies are increasingly realizing its value by creating work spaces designed for play, collaboration and interaction and by setting aside time for play.

As adults, the definition of play does not change (To engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose), but its uses and applications become more practical and more fully realized.

We often hear: “Give me proof, logic, and an excuse to play. I need a clear ROI, we are strapped for time”.

A clear ROI is forming. Ask Dr. Stuart Brown, the world’s leading expert on play. His findings tell us play makes for smarter and happier adults which can directly lead to a more productive and perhaps innovative workplace. Play can be a part of your workday.

By purposely allowing time and space for safe exploration of ideas and our curiosities, we engage more of ourselves (including our right-brains), play with building blocks of ideas, and refresh our minds.

Perhaps most importantly, play helps build trust. Dr. Brown tell us the basis of human trust is established through play signals.

What does a culture of play look like from an Improviser’s point of view?

  • A safe environment
  • Mistakes are viewed as gifts instead of failures
  • failure is fast, cheap, and disposable
  • a stage to practice real-life scenarios and role-play
  • a place to express ourselves without fear of judgement
  • An environment where trust is established among groups of people, often leading to the formation of teams
  • Time for imaginative play and storytelling
  • Learning how to play well with others
  • Collaborative storytelling and spontaneous, joyous expression of ideas
  • An environment where failure is embraced
  • Emotional bonds are strengthened and collaboration among team members is enforced

As adults we sometimes need help reminding ourselves how to play. Can you relate?

2 thoughts on “TOOL: Play your way to innovation

  1. Pingback: What is levity, and why it matters more than ever « Tools for Navigating Business Without a Script

  2. Pingback: TOOL: Listening « Tools for Navigating Business Without a Script

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