Caution: Adults At Play

by Jack Sommer

Why is it that so many work offices try to drive out the very thing that can provide such strong inspiration for good ideas? Lighten up and start playing at your company.

Of course not every office space needs to have a 24/7 arcade or a ping pong table, but how much of one's time in corporate settings are made to only be focused 100% on "serious" work? Most of it? All of it? How conducive is this to generating new ways of thinking about a problem an employee is trying to solve? Wouldn't it help them to solve problems by having their brain remain active in other ways?

Serious Play is a new workshop and consulting business by Lego, the world's biggest toy empire, and is headed by CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. Basically, special lego sets are brought in for group exercises in an office space. The program even gets executives involved as a way to help them find or express more ideas. Knudstorp is someone who thinks more play needs to be enforced in our workspaces. "If you play, you learn in a deeper way. The problem is that some people can view it as a little bit self-indulgent and believe learning should be dull and boring," Knudstorp told the Huffington Post in a recent interview.

An increase in play can also lead people to put out more experimental or risky ideas. It's easier for employees to work together during these times as well. The head of Lego Foundation, Hanne Rasmussen, adds that "the world of work would be transformed in the future if all young people were encouraged to be more creative." Serious Play is only a part of what is hopefully a shift in the culture towards a more balanced ecosystem in our workspaces, which would only be beneficial to everyone. 

So drop the serious side and play nicely. Frankly, it's unproductive not to. 

Originally posted about on The Huffington Post.