Accelerated Solutions Environment Blog

Accelerated Solutions Environment Blog

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

Play it again

We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”. George Bernard Shaw

The benefits of play in children’s development are now widely researched and acknowledged. Indeed, in England, there is a National Organisation dedicated to the field: Play England. The organisation’s vision is for England to be a country where all children and young people can fully enjoy their right to play.

But what about the importance of play in adults? Are we different? Has work replaced play? Or, is there an argument to say that work and play should be intertwined?

The space created for events held at Capgemini’s Accelerated Solutions Environment is purposefully designed to be “playful.” This is done in different ways through the presence of objects such as toys, games and scooters in the space, graphical artists bringing themes to life through cartoons and animations and some of the more “playful” and creative modules used during events. There is a reason behind this which is more significant than the play itself. This is summed up in the axiom “if you can’t have fun with a problem, you will never solve it.”

I would like to go further than this and say that, “if you can’t have fun around a problem, you won’t come up with the best solution.” Often my best ideas or solutions come to me when I’m out running, cycling to work or attempting my new hobby of wall papering. Why? It’s because I’m not consciously thinking about a problem, my mind is focussed elsewhere and thus, relaxed. In the same way that if you thought about all the complexity involved in pumping oxygen around your body, you’d never manage it; but, subconsciously, it just happens (even when you’re asleep).

Play can replicate this sub-conscious distraction in adults to allow them to come up with more creative solutions than conscious focus would allow. Even something as simple as picking up a pen and being asked to illustrate your thoughts, as opposed to verbalising them, taps into a different part of our brains and thus allows for different types of solutions.

So, next time you’re struggling with a problem, why not challenge someone to a head stand competition and see the world from a more playful perspective!

About the author

Susanna Dale
Susanna Dale
Susanna brings eight years worth of consulting experience to the ASE facilitation team. She is a Senior Consultant with a passion for ensuring the customer is at the heart of business change and design and that the best way to achieve this is through collaboration. Susanna has strong experience in the FS, CPR and health sectors, and a personal interest in sustainable development in emerging economies. Susanna is the editor of Capgemini’s Collaboration Corner which showcases the latest thoughts and opinions of Capgemini’s Accelerated Solutions Environment team.
1 Comment Leave a comment
An interesting and very timely article, especially given the recent announcement that Cambridge University look to be hiring a 'Professor of Lego', who will explore the importance of play in both education and later development. I've noticed an increasing amount of conversation and experimentation on the topic of play in education in recent years - perhaps an unsurprising response to the growing focus on frequent tests and targets that prioritise conformity over creativity. It's not just our educators who recognise the importance of fun and playfulness in productivity and performance - but the wave of organisations that design work spaces with pool tables, slides and basketball hoops. They acknowledge that when employees step away from their desks to play, they not only return feeling re-energised, but will have unlocked different ways of thinking, acting and reacting that can then improve the way they approach their work. Although we can't all convert a disused warehouse into an open plan, playful space for our employees - having a more flexible approach to how we use our space, time and working practices can enable us all to have a bit more fun with our work.

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