Title of Book:
From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement
What are some of the main themes of your book?
The main theme of the book is reflected in its title; From Workplace to Playspace is about a shift in mindset. The book focuses on the everyday space we create to foster innovating, learning and changing. It is about the present moment interactions, conversations and collaborations in which people and organizations are thriving by their ability to consistently create playspace. This is more specific than culture. Playspace is the space we create for the play of new ideas, to play new roles and develop new capacities, for more play in the system, and, of course, for improvised play. I also focus on what leaders, facilitators and participants at all levels can do to bring playspace to life in their organization.
What prompted you to write the book?
The book grew out of in-depth research I conducted during my doctoral studies. After years of hearing anecdotal reports of people’s experiences of transformation learning improvisation, I was curious to know just what they were experiencing and what contributed to their descriptions of transformation. More than the skills and knowledge associated with improvisation, they attributed the space they co-created with their colleagues as the most important to enable them to step out of their comfort zone, experiment with new ways of thinking and being. I came to call this playspace, as it reflects the space for the play of new possibilities to emerge. I didn’t have to look far to find these spaces in thriving organizations, and soon my research expanded to playspace work settings. The book is a tribute to the people who create playspace each day in their organizations, and provides specific practices and ideas for others to do the same.
What sparks your creativity?
My own creativity is most sparked in lively collaboration—often with a healthy dose of silliness mixed in. When I am truly “playing around” with an idea with friends and colleagues, it always evolves into something richer and more interesting. I choose my fellow players very carefully for this reason. They have to be able to get silly, even (and especially) when we are tackling “serious” and complex issues. This along with ample time to stare off into space and give ideas time to incubate and evolve on their own, for me, is the ideal spark for new ideas to take shape.
What’s one big thing you want people to take away from your book?
I hope people will be inspired to create playspace for innovating, learning and changing in their own life and work.