“The opposite to play is not work, it’s depression” Dr. Stuart Brown

No play: no trust, collaboration, no creativity, no innovation! To be creative in workplaces requires that leaders create a culture of ‘play.’ The challenge is that in many workplaces ‘play’ is such dirty word, but why?

It seems this is mainly because we generally believe that work is ‘serious’ and play is ‘frivolous.’ It seems the frivolous nature of play is not ‘serious’ enough to sit comfortably alongside ‘proper’ business skills and practices that have been carefully designed and proven to be robust, measurable and therefore considered tangible business attributes.

Play + Science = Transformation (Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of The National Institute for Play)

Where does the primal nature of play come into this? It doesn’t! Historically, in the world of work, play is ‘out there with the fairies’. It is not prescriptive; this makes it ‘fluffy nonsense’ that should be given its rightful place in the world, ‘the kid’s playground. Whilst we adults get on with the serious business at hand.’

The fact is, the serious nature of work served the industrial era very well. It is only now we are feeling the pain as we move into a totally tech driven world that requires us to be more self-sufficient, flexible, collaborative and creative.

We underestimated the journey from reliance to self-sufficiency, is not an easy one. After generations of being told what to do, thinking for ourselves at work, is by and large an alien concept. We forget that we spent generations being encouraged not to think, just do as we were told. We were encouraged not to be curious and creativity was for the chosen few. Many of us have grown up to be competitive more than collaborative, yet it is now critical we collaborate. The goal posts of changed and our brains and habits need rewiring. The fastest way to rewire them is through play.

That is why we designed the EPIC methodology of learning, engagement and change that is:

  • Experiential
  • Playful
  • Iterative
  • Collaborative

Why Experiential and Playful

Science has shown that adult learning is most effective in a positive emotional state: when it’s fun. It makes intimidating, perplexing material engaging and easier to comprehend.

When playful, the learning occurs through self-discovery. In other words, not by ‘consciously thinking and trying to ‘memorize’ and ‘interpret’ information from outside, but instead subconsciously imagining and creating, bypassing the conscious mind – like advertising. Being in a state of ‘play’ allows us to explore infinite possibility.

Many areas of neuroscience provide proof that without play, we cannot have the creativity and innovation we need. Play increases imagination and invokes creativity, because it creates a simultaneous sense of safety and adventure. Play encourages us to adapt to the outside world while remaining authentic. It is one of the essential ingredients in a creative process.

Why Iterative?

Iterative development involves a cyclical process, and can – because of its repetitive nature – have up to twice the impact of traditional linear learning.

Just as we pass through the four seasons every year, our learning passes through these same areas of study repeatedly over time. This doesn’t mean that you should repeat the same thing over, and over again. But when the major themes keep reoccurring, you’re learning spirals continually deeper with every cycle you are part of.

Why Collaborative?

Adding social and collaborative elements to learning leads to significant improvements in outcomes. When working together to achieve a shared goal, everyone needs to believe in the goal and trustthe others as well as themselves. Furthermore, studies have shown that social embeddedness improves cognitive functions by broadening mental capacities of thinking, learning and understanding.

Add the fact that as much as 70 to 90% of workplace learning occurs informally and socially through discussion with fellow employees at the ‘water cooler’.

Since most of learning occurs in informal and social settings, perhaps the greatest single potential gain for learning is in this area.

You will note that EPIC both embraces the fundamental method of learning, which is designed to work with the subconscious to accelerate learning and addresses the necessity to break learning into micro, digestible elements that can be practically fused into the working operation.

‘I believe the separation between work and play is an unnecessary separation.’ ‘Play is like nutrition, or exercise, it should be incorporated into each day.’ Dr Stuart Brown

Want to play?

Café Style Culture Club offers a 45 minute Agile Breakthrough Consultation to walk you through the method, tools, platform and Café Style Accreditation Programme. To book your ABC session, contact us and/or download the free white paper “Let’s Thrive Through Disruption, click here!

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