The recent past in particular has shown how unpredictable the future has become under globalized conditions. Many companies realize that strategic thinking alone is no longe sufficient nowadays. With Playful Work
there is a promising alternative to the classical managerial thinking, which often requires problem definition, project course and a goal already defined at the kick-off.
In principle, the method is based on the following: By creating spaces in which problems do not have to be solved bur rather soultions can be found, new ideas should flourish. The thesis behind Playful Work is that we humans acquire a great deal of knowledge through play in childhood. Children do not know what mistakes are. And so they approach "problems" with an open mind. They analyze their attempts without judging, reflect on the previous learning process based on the experiences made and adapt their behaviour until a solution is found. It goes without saying that the kids cannot say when they are going to run and which method is the best for them when they take their first steps. And so they come up with the more creative solutions. Playful Work to make use of these advantages of the latest generation.
A prominent example that illustrates this method in a business context is Lego Serious Play
(LSP). The majority owner of Lego Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen already expressed his increasing dissatisfaction with conventional strategy development methods in the 1990s. Robert Rasmussen, head of product development for Lego Education, therefore began working with the two professors Johan Roos and Bart Victor. At the time, Roos and Victor were researching alternatives to conventional strategy development at the International Institute for Management Development
in Lausanne. The three of them developed LSP. The method's findings were already being used in their development: In more than twenty iterations, the three men brought Lego Serious Play to market maturity and the product was presented to the public in early 2002.
Today, LSP is an official and successful Lego product line - and not only the game company is tinkering with ways to use playful elements for strategy development, but also large technology companies such as Google and Microsoft. This seems to confirm once again the thesis of the Dutch historian Johann Huizinga
. As early as 1938, he plausibly demonstrated how Homo Ludens - the playing man - shapes our culture and society.
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