“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!