Monday, August 16, 2010
WHEN YOU NEED TO GET SERIOUS, GET PLAYFUL!
Dilip Mukerjea writes on page 90 of his wonderful book,'Taleblazers: Imagination to Imprint', as follows:
"Areas of the brain controlling vision are much older than those for language. This truth has enormous implications for our evolution within the digital space of the Third Millennium.
Today, words alone are inadequate when the primary processing organ of the brain is visual. Thus, communication becomes immensely more powerful when it is designed as a blend between text and imagery, in full colour, and with total relevance to the demands of The Learning Economy.
The rationale is that the human brain loves to play; literacy ought to serve this expression of joy so that the theme is play power, not power play.
Today, we are dominated by a visual consciousness!"
As I reread Dilip's foregoing passage, it brings me back to a wonderful book I had read during the late nineties, entitled 'The Next Common Sense: Mastering Corporate Complexity with Coherence', by investment banker Michael Lissack & strategy professor Johan Roos (of the famed IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland].
I even wrote a book review on Amazon.com as follows:
"Because of my deep personal interest in using visual thinking tools for opportunity discovery and strategic exploration, I find this book very useful and practical.
I particularly like the authors' use of powerful visual metaphors to understand & to master the complexity all around us, and to chart out new strategic directions, whether in business or in life.
If you are planning what you want to do with the rest of your life in our constantly changing & uncertain world - or planning the next strategic moves for your company- read this book and use the ideas.
The authors' website is also worth exploring."
Prof Johan Roos went on to expand & exploit many ideas from the foregoing book to create & develop a powerful business tool - aptly called 'Serious Play' - for enhancing process innovation & business performance, with generous funding from the Lego Group & other interested parties. [The name LEGO is a portmanteau of two Danish words, "leg godt", meaning "play well".]
In fact, Prof Johan Roos left IMD Switzerland later on to form Imagination Lab Foundation in order to further his exploitation of 'Serious Play'.
The subsequent follow-up research initiatives eventually culminated into the Lego Serious Play product applications & consulting methods, one of which was called 'Real Time Strategy', which combines play, social bonding, construction ["thinking through concrete objects" or "thinking through our fingers"], creative imagination, fantasy, story-crafting & metaphors to help top-notch business executives to challenge their views of their businesses.
In a sense, what Dilip has written about, especially his battle-cry of 'Power Play has given way to Play Power', is serious stuff in the corporate world.
In fact, I have read that Lego Serious Play is being introduced to the schools in recent years to teach kids as young as six years old. Wow! Just imagine, the future leaders of the next generation!
More information about the Lego Serious Play product applications & consulting methods is available at their corporate website.
Readers can also visit this link to download an interesting article on 'The Science of Lego Serious Play'.
Interestingly, an apt quotation - attributed to the Greek philosopher Plato - on the website reads as follows:
"You can learn more about a person in a hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation."
A series of so-called Working Papers plus other useful publications for practitioners is available at this link from Imagination Lab Foundation.
Meanwhile, I like to recommend the following books for further reading, some of which have, in fact, gone far beyond the original concept & practice of 'Serious Play':
1) 'The Next Common Sense: Mastering Corporate Complexity Through Coherence' (1999), by Michael Lissack & Johan Roos; [may be dated somewhat, but still gives a good round-up of basic concepts for the beginner;]
2) 'Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate' (1999), by Michael Schrage;
3) 'The Imagination Challenge: Strategic Foresight & Innovation in the Global Economy' (2007), by Alexander Manu;
4) 'Innovating Strategy Processes' (2005), edited by Johan Roos & Others;
5) 'Thinking from Within: A Hands-on Strategy Process' (2006), by Johan Roos;
6) 'Everyday Strategic Preparedness: The Role of Practical Wisdom' (2007), by Johan Roos & Matt Statler (2007);
[Throughout the nineties, & up to the early 21st century, I often used my preferred Googolplex , K'Nex,as well as Zometools construction kits from the United States, instead of Lego bricks, in my strategy & innovation workshops with entrepreneurs, managers & professionals.
In fact, I also sold Zometools construction kits in my then small retail store in the Central Business District.]