Stream Session E: The Purpose of Play

When NASA Jet Population Laboratory started investigating why their latest cohort of engineers weren’t as good at problem-solving as the generation before them, they found a correlation between time spent playing as a child and the ability to solve complex problems.

When Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class in University for the fun of it, he didn’t know that it would inspire his approach to computer fonts, shifting the focus of the computer revolution from function to aesthetics and proving Apple’s ability to out-innovate the competition.

When product designer Patricia Moore chose to live as an elderly woman for three years to better understand how to design for the user, she set a new bar for product research and demonstrated the power of role-play to reach insights otherwise unreachable.

Before I get too grandiose and start talking about the role of playful experimentation in the history of scientific discovery, or the evolution of culture, or I use phrases like “play is the driving force of human civilisation…” I’ll tone it down a notch and just say that understanding more about Play and Playfulness is essential for anyone hoping to create a resilient, innovative and attractive company.

In this session, I will talk specifically about Play and Playfulness in the workplace. Essentially, I’ll answer… What is Play and how do you use it?

Daniel Teitelbaum