The importance of play to an organisation's creativity

26 April 2020 • 2 min read

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In the first of our new webinar series, Elevenses, Samuel Yau, one of our Lead UX Designers, explored the importance of play in an organisation’s creativity.

Play and brain development


Using the age-old phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, Samuel explained how play energises the brain. In fact, play is an integral part of brain development, especially for children. It helps the brain build the relations between neurons, which improves memory and allows for an easier, steadier connection between the right and left side of a brain.


So, to create as many possible pathways and new connections between neurons as possible, we need to use already existing knowledge and come up with new possibilities, which is possible with play.


Play in business


After laying the scientific foundations, Samuel then shared how you can use play in an organisation to foster a culture of:


  • Learning
  • Creativity
  • Inclusivity

Next, he talked through a play methodology that’s used by the likes of NASA, BBC, Google and Ikea: the Lego Duck Challenge.


The challenge is simple:


  1. Each participant is given the same six pieces of lego.
  2. They are given 30 seconds to build a duck from memory.
  3. After the 30 seconds is up, all participants compare ducks.

The outcome of this exercise is that you have a pond of different ducks and, due to the fact that there are 915,103,765 combinations, no two ducks are the same!


So, why is this relevant or beneficial to a business? Samuel explained that, to think of solutions to a problem, you need inclusivity, diversity and - most importantly - to hear everyone’s ideas, as this will allow you to find the most creative, effective solution.


Building on the Lego Duck Game, LEGO themselves actually run a course called LEGO Serious Play, which teaches teams how to come up with countless solutions to certain problems, whilst breaking down hierarchy, fostering collaboration and having fun.


Bringing play into your organisation


Lastly, Samuel shared examples of how he has used play in his work to encourage engagement, creativity and productivity, including:


  • Creating and launching a Creative Decision Making Playbook at BBC, which was full of exercises, tools and tips for tackling project challenges with confidence.
  • Building the Blue Room at BBC - a playroom full of tv screens, mobiles, tablets, VR headsets that people could play with to help them understand how their product teams could use the latest technology.

Watch the webinar recording


To watch the recorded webinar, and to see other resources to help you during this period of remote working, click here.


About AND Elevenses


In our collective new normal of working from home, we’ve noticed ourselves just how easy it is to lose track of time and find yourself working without sufficient breaks. Without these, we all know how fast productivity, focus and wellbeing can dwindle.


So, to help break up your day, we’ve launched AND Elevenses: snappy, 45-minute live webinar sessions where you can learn new skills, network with others and take some time out from your working day.


If you've missed an event, don't worry. You can watch recordings here from each Elevenses session we run.


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