Western culture, and our socialization in it, has biased us toward valuing only the explicit outcomes of action, not the full-bodied, whole-person engagement in action so necessary, ironically, to successful innovating, learning, and changing.

I have read the first two chapters of  From Workplace to Playspace by Pamela Meyer and am finding it to be both interesting and challenging.  Her case for change is well reasoned and well supported by research.  It is also content dense but is never boring.

The quote above is in the first chapter where she lays out the case for a change in mindset.  Her case is based on a view that our culture has created “a dualistic view of work that filters out information, emotion, and experience that are not immediately relevant to accomplishing the task at hand.”  When one accepts this dualistic view work becomes exclusively focused on products and not processes.  In this mindset, “when we praise someone’s work ethic, we are likely admiring her productivity, not her capacity for improvisation, creative collaboration, new learning, or ability to respond to change.”

Dr. Meyer’s solution is to adopt a mindset where people are free to integrate play into their workplace, recasting it as a playspace.  In such a work environment employees are able to “experiment with new interpretations, recast their roles, target new audiences, and most important, co-create a space in which an authentic, spontaneous truth is brought to life by players who are working at the top of their talent.”

I can’t address every point in the book here so I encourage you to read it yourself.  If you can’t get to the book I will post my thoughts on each chapter as I complete them.  Below are some brief interviews that relate to the concept of high performance teams and creative collaboration.  I hope they will stimulate more thought on this subject.

Pixar and Collective Creativity