Top 5 Ways Purposeful Play Fuels Innovation

Work and play aren’t usually words that go together. “Work hard. Play hard.” they say. But what if I told you that work SHOULD be play? That when you’re playing, you’re in fact working, and learning, and expanding your thinking until you get to that “aha moment” and breakthrough?

About a year and a half ago I designed a company that centered around curiosity, play, and creativity. A company that infused creativity into all levels of an organization so that groups and teams can become an unbreakable force that can confidently and courageously solve any problem thrown their way.

When a team can play together, can build on each other’s ideas, can express their opinions and ask questions, magic happens. And don’t we all need some magic right about now?

So what does play look like at work? It’s not laughing and having fun. I mean, yes, that’s nice too. But this kind of play, purposeful play, is an attitude. It’s a mindset. It’s an approach where you’re constantly experimenting, testing boundaries, and trying to new things. Purposeful play gets you to breakthrough thinking.

Here are the top five ways that purposeful play fuels learning and innovation:

  1. Demands 100% engagement. I have a ground rule in my workshops that everyone participates. You might be a Director or VP hurriedly buzzing from meeting to meeting or an administrative assistant catching your breath between multiple tasks but everyone builds, contributes, and speaks up. When all voices and opinions are expressed and the playing field is leveled, then fresh thinking emerges.
  2. Reveals deeper insights. One of the ways I help strengthen team bonds is to use art supplies and LEGOâ to prototype solutions to pain points in the way they work together. Each model has a story, each story comes from an experience, and the collection of experiences shapes the team culture and how teams work together. When we use art to tell stories, the insights are richer, making the solutions more effective.
  3. Boosts energy. We all know that exercise boosts energy. To boost energy in team meetings, trainings, and brainstorms, flex your creative muscle. Use your hands to draw or build an idea. When we use our hands, we activate both sides of our brain and we’re fully present and engaged.
  4. Increases collaboration. Creativity breaks down communication barriers. It evens the playing field by giving a voice to people at all levels. When diverse perspectives are heard, bigger and better ideas are generated.
  5. Encourages experimentation – Purposeful play can include role playing to gain empathy, tinkering with an idea to test boundaries, or building on something you’re passionate about and learning something new. It’s all about trying and failing and finding the courage to try again.

ArtWorks purposeful play is our…well…purpose! To find out how purposeful play can re-energize your team so they can solve their pressing business challenges, let’s talk.

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