Creativity and Innovation through Play!
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Innovation is a word that gets thrown around a lot in our corporate culture. The word innovation has become diluted in its meaning. Nowadays all it appears to stand for is an incremental influx of similar products or ideas. Today’s generation expect innovation to happen at their fingertips with little to no real stimuli. Much of technology is taking away the power to think for ourselves. Everything must be there and in real-time for instant consumption.. It’s junk food for the mind and we are getting fat on it! And that breeds lazy innovation. We’ve become satiated before we reach the point of real creativity. Nobody wants to bother with taking the time to put it all together for themselves anymore, it has to be ready for us. And we are happy to throw it away if it doesn’t work the first time, use it or lose it, there is less sweat equity involved if we don’t persevere with risk of failure.

In my years working in the Advertising industry, I’ve witnessed this on multiple occasions. We tend to bullet proof ideas, running through the scenarios on how it might or might not work. Some of the most innovative ideas never see the light of day because of this.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs said, “stay hungry, stay foolish” and he was right. Innovation comes form the desire to create and to spark the imagination. It comes from  what little there is in the ether and turning it into something spectacular. It’s the Big bang of human creation. Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. He was right too.

Play is the key to unlocking imagination.

Play Stimulates Innovation through New Ways of Thinking

When we play, we force the brain out of of its normal patterns, putting ourselves in a different space to come up with newer, bigger and or better ideas. Improvisational play is an effective vehicle for doing this. Improvisational play,  lets one focus on simply creating ideas without having to immediately judge them.  Play enables more risk taking and spontaneous behavior. Play fosters experimentation without fear of failure. Play facilitates co-creation and supporting each other’s ideas. Once new ideas have been imagined, the “Yes, and…” method is an excellent way to develop and build upon those ideas. Yes, and…requires you to jump in and Play!

Jump in and Play…

When you say the word yes, you’re agreeing to let the other person’s idea be valid and to publicly support that person. But when you add the word and, you are committing to much more. You’re basically jumping into the middle of the game and picking up the ball. You are saying that you are willing to work with others, in the trenches, to make an idea come to life. You are committing your own sweat equity. You are jumping in and playing. In other words, if yes is putting a toe in the water, then and is jumping into the lake. And carries with it the responsibility to contribute. It’s not enough to just support the idea or agree with the contribution. For real skin in the game, for real innovation, you’ve got to play too. And demands that you jump in, take part, and share the risk and reward.

When teams know they can trust their colleagues to jump in every time, they can create with incredible courage. It’s not enough just to agree and move on to whatever you would rather do. You have to commit.

By releasing ourselves to jump in and play, to improvise, we are increasing our ability to be more innovative and effective. When you play with a team, you build trust and collaboration as you give yourself over to the game or activity. People can sense that you’ve jumped in fully, and they trust that they can play with you. Plato said, “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” That’s because when we play, we truly become ourselves. We tap into our most instinctual responses, and our thoughts and actions quicken.

By saying Yes, and…we create a safe environment that deepens our capacity for collaboration, innovation, and engagement. Uses Improv to Spur Innovation and Creativity

Lisa Kavanaugh,’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, discusses the profound impact that improvisational play has had on the organization in this YouTube video.

Play Storming borrows from the tenants of improvisational play and applies them to a business setting  in order to stimulate innovation through a new way of  thinking. If you’d like to learn more about how your company can become innovative, Jump In and contact us below.

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