Managing innovation - creating value from ideas

Playing to learn - and learning to play

October 08, 2021 john
Managing innovation - creating value from ideas
Playing to learn - and learning to play
Show Notes

Watch any group of kids at play and you can remind yourself that this is something which comes naturally. It should do; evolutionary psychologists are pretty clear that the ability to play (and therefore imagine and simulate a variety of situations) developed as an important adaptive mechanism. Kids play because they are hard-wired to do so; reward circuits in the brain reinforce the experience with suitable chemicals to ensure it is seen as something pleasurable which they will want to repeat.

It’s not just kids; all mammals display similar behaviour and it raises an important question. Why? Play is costly in terms of energy so why have they evolved to retain this capacity? The argument is that play is not accidental but instead serves several important purposes:

It enables them to

· practice skills that are essential to their survival and reproduction;

· learn to cope physically and emotionally with unexpected, potentially harmful events;

· reduce hostility and enable cooperation.

· generate new, sometimes useful creations

All of which could be pretty useful in the process of coming up with ideas and turning those into value — innovation.  This podcast explores how play might be a key resource for working with innovation.

You can find a transcript here