Category Archives: Lek på jobbet

A Fresh Look at Work – a new article about playing at work

happy workerI just finished a new article about play at work and the link between play and creativity for the Japanese magazine SGI Quartarly.

The article begins with: “In his memoir, Henry Ford wrote: “When we are at work we ought to be at work. When we are at play we ought to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two.” This anti-play approach to work has outlived the Industrial Revolution, and the notion that work and play are opposites still lingers in many workplaces. In Sweden, where, both as a researcher and as a consultant, I try to encourage more play in the workplace, I often hear the echo of the Puritan work ethic in the grumbling expression “this is a workplace, no playground sandbox!”… Read the complete article.

The latest issue of SGI Quartarly has many more articles on various aspects of play and is well worth a read.

Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation (new book)

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 14.24.54I just finished reading a new book about my research subject. I was so excited when I found this book. A whole book written by serious researchers dedicated to play and creativity! The introduction promises that the book will shed light on how play promotes creativity in organizations. Sounds great. That is precisely my area of research.

The introduction is informative, and is perhaps the best part of the book. The book’s first half covers animal research, this is unsurprising because the authors are biologists. Although the animal research might be interesting for biologists if fails to link those findings to anything that might interest those of use who want to apply play in organizations. The authors keep mentioning that later chapters will get to the organizational aspects of play.

The second half of the book is disappointing. Anecdotal evidence and stories about Einstein are not enough. The authors do not seem to have bothered searching for any of the recent studies on human play and creativity or on organizational playfulness. This is surprising since they did such a good job on reporting everything about animal play. I could not find any references to studies done on adult playfulness, and play at work. Such a shame. The short chapters on drugs, humor and dreaming are unfortunately not that interesting either.

I know that I sound very negative, and I may have expected too much from the so promising title and description of the book. I would still however recommend the book to anyone interested in animal play, but if you want to learn about how play facilitates organizational creativity and innovation you will have to look elsewhere.

How play can lead to IT innovation

CIO magazine interviewed Stuart Brown for the article How Play at Work Can Lead to IT Innovation. Here are the first two points:
What is play, compared to brainstorming or innovating?
Play is directed by the player and you’re not anxious or grinding toward some outcome. There’s improvisation potential and it takes you out of time and gives pleasure. It might feel purposeless. Getting into that state opens up a lot of avenues for innovation and creativity, but incorporating play in the workplace is not always easy. It often seems antithetical to productivity and responsibility.
Why should we play at the office?
There’s a sense of exploration, a search for novelty, an engagement. From these outcomes, you see increased mastery and skill, increased perseverance and lots of good byproducts–preparation for the unexpected and flexibility and adaptability when something unforeseen heads your way.

Some recent articles on the importance of play at work

http://miceatplay.com/media/create_a_play_revolution.jpgDuring my semi-regular sloppy search for interesting articles on play at work I found three recent news articles about play. Could this be the beginning of the play revolution?

The Globe and Mail (Canada): a short article that describes how we as adults feel the need to justify everything we do in terms of them being instrumental or beneficial in some way “… our days are spent in utilitarian tasks, dominated by instrumental thinking – doing one thing for the sake of something else, which is in turn done for something else.  [Whereas] in its pure form, play has no external purpose or reward. We play just to play.”

CNN’s article Goofing off on company time? Go for it  is about how innovation driven companies want to get their oftern young talents to play more, but that it is ends up being a question of getting senior management to be the first to lean into play. ” It up to management to change that perception [that it is wrong to play at work.] One manager says “It has been a problem for many employees because they may feel that the idea ‘play’ is just given lip service by management. Knowing it’s required is the only way this works. And the only way this happens is for senior staff to lead by example. Top down. If you have a ping-pong table, but don’t play, your … employees will not play.”

Lekfulla medarbetare – allt annat är puckat

http://bilder.tidningsbutiken.se/upl/normal500/nyteknik-48-2011.jpgEn artikel hos Ingenjörsamfundet. Kul att de uppmärksammar lekens betydelse för kreativitet och innovation!

…Innovation är hett. Snart sagt alla hyfsat stora företag säger att de är innovativa, men frågan är om de verkligen är det. För att arbeta innovativt behöver medarbetare tid och rum för kreativitet – för att få vara lekfulla….”

 

Improvisationsteater på jobbet

I går intervjuade jag Helen Lindahl som är improvisationsskådespelare och driver företaget Aktör Edutainment i Stockholm. Helen har i många år använt tekniker och övningar från improvationsteater i sitt arbete med organisationer och hon hade mycket intressant att berätta om hur hun använder lek och lekfullhet för att främja kreativitet och innovation. När jag gått igenom intervjun lägger jag upp godbitarna här på bloggen.

Det blir allt mer populärt att istället för att anlita olika företagscoacher och diverse företagskonsulter (som jag tror att många är faktiskt ganska trötta på) ta hjälp av duktigt improv-folk för att hjälpa till med allt från kommunikationsträning till teambuilding. Vilket är roligare: en föreläsare som kryddar sin föreläsning med lite övningar för hålla publiken vaken eller ett gäng skådisar som engagerar hela personalen i super-cool, fysisk, hands-on improv kring ett för organisationen aktuellt tema? Föreläsningar, hur än roliga de är blir tyvärr ofta passiviserande för publiken. Det är föreläsaren som håller igång och publiken som snällt ska lyssna. Som en medaktör i Helenas scener blir medarbetaren delaktig och fri att tänka i helt nya banor. Som kreativitetsforskare kan jag inte tänka mig något som skulle kunna toppa användningen av improv-övningar när det gäller att få igång medarbetares kreativitet och engagemang. Och så är det otroligt roligt också! Inspirationsdagen, utbildningen… ja även ‘konfliktteater’ blir en riktig glädjekick för medarbetarna som ökar sammanhållningen och genererar massor av kraft och energi. Övningarna som alla bygger på improvisationsteater tränar upp förmågan att tro på sina idéer, träda ur trygghets-zonen och våga lite mer. Människor upptäcker att de är faktiskt mer kreativa och idérika än de trodde.

Jag vet att inlägget låter lite om en reklamtext för Helens företag men jag blev så inspirerad av att snacka med henne och få höra hur hon skickligt balanserar mellan att vara “en flummig, kreativ lekfull skådis” och sitt seriösa organisationsuppdrag.