When LEGO informed the former licensed partners about their plans to “go open source” with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ methodology – most of us did not have a faintest idea what this would mean to our activities.
Obviously – setting up from scratch a new community to deal with training activities of the future facilitators, building its backoffice, setting up technological platform, handling its internal communication and member management is already a challenge that we need to face during the coming months and even years.
But so far we have had to deal with petty practicalities that are despite their pettiness sometimes rather cumbersome and time consuming. Hence – two months down the line, can you comment about the extent of change that the recent changes have had upon your business:
How much you have had to upgrade your marketing materials: websites, sales brochures, handouts, slides.
How have you adapted to new ordering system via LEGO Shipping & Handling (incl. some of us – how have you solved the situation that your country might no longer be supported as a delivery destination).
A kind reminder was sent to our community by Helle Borup Friberg, Head of LEGO Education Operations & Development. With the open source model the guidelines have changed on how trained LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitators can market their services. So in order to ensure compliance with LEGO protected trademarks we have added a new section to our community website called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ Trademark Guidelines. We kindly ask you to follow them when posting your news and events on our website and preparing your own marketing materials.
A few months ago when I was doing my preparations for TEDxTartu talk about play@work I started reviewing popular sources for materials that cover connections between playfulness and work. I found out vast literature. In two extremes mostly – either related to developmental psychology or about (what Plato calls) “frivolous play”: play as a pastime. However, direct of play@work linkages were few.
One of them was written by Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, co-authored with Christopher Vaughan. The book is called “Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul”.
The book starts with background on animals at play. First vivid example describes an incident where an encounter between polar bear and a husky did not end up tragically for the latter. Instead hungry polar bear was happy to be drawn into puppy-like play.
What follows is an interesting thought experiment that spans several pages. Play is considered to be one of the most important means of child and adult learning; one of the most important sources of creativity; playing together as a fundamental basis for bonding and teamwork. Numerous examples presented in the book demonstrate that our species has been produced to play throughout the adulthood.
Why on the earth do we consider that in order to be productive we need to be sombre and serious at work? Apparently this is an outdated view. There are several studies that demonstrate that playfulness at work is in fact increasing our productiveness.
Indeed – even joking sometimes helps in certain conditions as Lancaster professor David L. Collinson has found in his studies. Side remark – this does not obviously mean that we ought to start joking and playing all day. Certain modesty should be exercised – thinking of some light-hearted solitaire addicts.
However, the most important statement of this about play@work comes from medical studies. These have identified that very serious workplaces are not necessarily more productive. But they certainly are much more depressive. So the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.
Lots of books about play tend to take playfulness out. Brown is not one of them. His book is fun to read. My definite reading recommendation for anybody interested in how to incite some playfulness in your office or factory. If you are interested then I also welcome you to watch his inspiring video at Serious Play TED conference called “Play is more than fun”.
 Collinson (2002) Managing Humour. Journal of Management Studies 39:3, pp. 269-288.
For more information on training offered in Australia, New Zealand and / or Asia Pacific please visit: http://www.mci.edu.au/
Training will soon be available in Australia, New Zealand, England, Mexico and Asia Pacific. For more information on this training please visit: strategicplayroom.com
The training in Vancouver will be offered in English and the training in Hamburg will be offered in German or English depending upon the group. Future training planned will also be offered in Spanish. Strategic Playroom Fundamentals facilitator training has been developed in collaboration with the founding members of the Strategic Playroom.
The ability to think creatively is now more important than ever, as the world is changing rapidly and we are all asked to do more with less. Many corporations are outsourcing skilled labour such as engineering, accounting, and software writing. North Americans watch as left brain jobs go to countries asking for lower incomes. Innovation is a right brain activity, which comes from the ability to use imagination. It could be one of the ways North American businesses gain a greater foothold in the world market during this economic slowdown. The Economist Magazine calls innovation the next big economy, following the Knowledge Economy. And now Business week is calling it the Creative Economy, http://ow.ly/1BwZM.
General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and Google all understand the Creative Economy and they are working to capitalize. They all recognize their greatest asset is the potential that lies in their human resources. They not only create environments that support ideation and collaboration, but they also create time and space. It is difficult to be creative when your time is taken up on task completion.
Clearly some people are more creative than others. But we can all become more creative. There is a way to develop that creative muscle. First we need to recognize the power of creativity and imagination and see this as an available tool that is accessible to all of us and an important ingredient for innovation. Tools and processes like LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY use systematic creativity to take participants through a process that generates better solutions. Using whole brain thinking, 3D tools tap into the hidden potential that is locked away in the underused right brain.
If you’re interested in reading more about design thinking – check out the book: The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin.