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.