When was the last time you asked colleagues if they wanted to go out and play?

Play is a bad word in the office. Banished to the naughty stool and sent to bed without a story, it’s treated with contempt and embarrassment in the adult world. Yet the fabric of our very being is built around play, equipping us in childhood and adolescence with the resilience, skills and habits to be able live in the adult world.

Neon number oneDon’t take my word for it, the evidence is clear; the correlation between art, intelligence and problem solving – just go ask Maklab, Scotland’s first open access digital fabrication studio; the link between unsupervised, unstructured play and conflict resolution; between play and well-being. I could go on.

Bears In The Woods…

I recently caught part of a programme documenting bears, each winter, visiting husky packs, not to cause conflict or mark their territory but to play. Wild Alaskan bears. Get your head round that; two quite separate groups of animals amicably meeting up to have a bit of rough and tumble, never with any serious threat of harm. And all because bears know playing with the huskies is far more significant in their fight for survival in the harsh and inhospitable winter conditions than eating them.

What’s more, bears who became better at play or who more regularly played not only increased their chances of survival but experienced longer and healthier lives. And reared more cubs. So the case for play is clear, help improve the quality of your life through play, or at least have a great time trying.

Digital Play

The world around us has changed, and with change comes opportunities to continue to shape it. Digital play helps you explore and build confidence, to problem-solve and open new doors, maybe even new and more creative ways of working. 

You might be as surprised as me to discover that the Scottish Household Survey Report 2013 found that, in the study, 7 in 10 people cited creativity as the reason why they went online or used social media at least once a week. Digital resources, channels and platforms offer incredibly powerful opportunities to be creative, you just first need to find your confidence, voice and ultimately focus.

There’s no job in the world where if you want to grow you stop doing the one thing that gives you the best opportunity. It remains a mystery then why, despite knowing the benefits of play, we all fail to embrace play more, especially in the workplace.

Digital Innovation

I recently listened to John Swinney MSP encourage NHSScotland Event delegates to adapt to new challenges by seeking to break down traditional barriers, and foster a culture of innovation. Working with people from across every single part of your organisation to be creative and confident in how digital technology including digital and social media is embraced – then creatively applying that alongside other tools and techniques, is paramount if innovation is to championed.

It’s about culture and confidence, and to have the imagination and vision to apply it to the landscape within which you are living.

You’ve seen the O2 ads about being more dog. My challenge to you is to be more bear.

Don’t just survive – Live. Love. Play. Create.



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