Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why "Games"?

Why are Innovation Games "games"?

There are two modes of operation in an organization, Open and Closed. The Open mode is essential for creativity. It invites thought, relaxed contemplation, and examination of ideas. The Closed mode is fine once you have solved your problem and have chosen a course of action: without the Closed mode nothing would get done. But an organization that stays in the Closed mode will fail to improve and will miss creative solutions to its problems. Using games captures two of the five essential elements of creativity: Confidence/Permission, and Humor.

Confidence/Permission: Criticism is not allowed in creative sessions. Allow all ideas to be put into play. Allow junior members to speak first, and don't allow senior member to ridicule them. People must feel they can take chances with incomplete or unreferenced thought. As ideas are tossed around, allow the ccasional illogical transition. This is often the key step to a new view of the problem and a better solution.

Humor: Humor is an essential part of creativity. A main element of humor is the unexpected connection of two unrelated concepts. This is also a key element of creativity. Enabling humor starts the brain's analogizing mechanism.

Often organizations try to eliminate humor because they feel it detracts from proper decorum, denigrates those in charge and leads to insubordination. This attitude comes from a confusion between "serious" and "solemn". It is possible to be serious about something and still maintain a sense of humor about it. And if you desire creative solutions, you MUST maintain a sense of humor. Organizations that insist on solemnity will forbid humor in all forms, keep in the Closed mode, and outlaw creativity. What you will find in these organizations is that people's natural humor and creativity, channeled away from the business process, will leak out in underground ways --- usually in jokes directed at the organization's management.

1 comment:

  1. What are the other five essential elements of creativity?