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The Creative Spark: Igniting
Innovation With Play

Transformative Play Workshops for Teams and Leaders
Designed by Shirin Etessam and Nina Meehan

The Crisis in Today’s Workplace

Modern workplaces are facing an unprecedented crisis:

Rising Burnout and Productivity Loss:

A study by Gallup found that a staggering 76% of employees experience burnout on the job at least sometimes, leading to 37% less productivity [Gallup, “Employee Engagement in the Workplace“]

High employee burnout is linked to increased absenteeism and presentism, where employees are physically present but not mentally engaged, further impacting productivity [Beyond Burnout: How to Spot It, Stop It and Stamp It Out” to Harvard Business Review “Beyond Burnout“]

Deepening Disengagement and Financial Impact:

Disengaged employees cost the global economy over $7 trillion annually [Gallup, “Employee Engagement in the Workplace”]. This cost can be attributed to factors such as:

  • Increased healthcare costs due to stress-related illnesses.
  • Higher employee turnover resulting in recruitment and training expenses.
  • Reduced customer satisfaction due to decreased employee engagement

Creativity Deficit and Innovation Decline:

A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with high levels of employee engagement are 21% more profitable than those with low engagement [McKinsey & Company, “Delivering through Diversity“].

When employees feel supported and empowered, they are more likely to think creatively and innovate, leading to new products, services, and solutions that drive business growth [Adobe “State of Create” Report].

Our Solution:
A Deep Dive into Play

Teach and Embed a Productivity & Innovation Superpower into your Culture / We tackle the workplace crisis today head on by leveraging an essential human skill that unlocks the power and potential of people in company: PLAY

The Science of
Adult Play

Play can improve cognitive function in adults, including memory, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. [ University of Eastern Finland ]

Adults who engage in regular play report higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and creativity. [ University of Texas at Austin -].

73%  of adults report feeling stressed at some point in the last month [American Psychological Association, “Stress in America”].

A study by the LEGO Group found that 92% of adults believe play is important for well-being, and 73% wish they played more. This statistic highlights the broad societal recognition of the value of play for adults, even though many struggle to dedicate time to it. [The LEGO Group, “The Power of Play Report”].

Playful Minds =
Productive Workplaces:

Brain Boost

Playful activities increase the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which promotes the growth and survival of brain cells, enhancing learning, memory, and cognitive function. [National Institute of Mental Health, “Brain Basics“]

Innovation Spark

Playful exploration and experimentation foster creativity and problem-solving skills, crucial for innovation and adaptation in today’s dynamic work environment. [ Institute of Education Sciences , “The Power of Play“]

Stress Slayer

Play reduces stress hormones like cortisol, leading to improved mood, well-being, and resilience [Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies , “The Science of Play“]

Core Components of Our Workshops

Understanding Play

A theoretical overview of the importance of play, backed by neuroscience and psychology, demonstrating its crucial role in learning, creativity, and well-being.

Strategies for Sustained Engagement

Practical tools and techniques for leaders to weave play into the fabric of their teams, promoting ongoing engagement and creativity.

Play for Productivity

Interactive sessions where participants experience firsthand how play can help unlock a business challenge in the room.

Building Playful Cultures

Guidance on creating an organizational culture that values and encourages play, supporting a more flexible, innovative, and resilient workforce.

Unlocking Business Challenges Through Play

Real-World Problem Solving

Engage in interactive, playful activities designed to mirror your specific business challenges. Experience how play fosters creative problem-solving and innovative thinking in real-time.

Adaptive Thinking

Play encourages adaptability—an essential skill in today’s fast-paced business environment. Engage in scenarios that require quick thinking and flexibility, mirroring the dynamic nature of business challenges.

Outcome Focused

Conclude with a debrief session to connect the dots between play and practical outcomes. Identify actionable insights and strategies derived from the playful activities to tackle your business challenges head-on.

Collaboration Unleashed

Discover how play breaks down barriers, enhancing team collaboration. Through playful exercises, witness the strengthening of communication and the emergence of unexpected, powerful ideas from team synergy.

Innovation Through Experimentation

Experience how a playful mindset promotes a risk-free environment for experimentation. Learn how this leads to breakthrough ideas and solutions that can be applied directly to your business challenges.

Play in Action: Practical Applications for Business Innovation

Real-World Problem Solving1

Application: A tech company faces a decline in user engagement and implements a workshop that mirrors this challenge through a playful, competitive game. Teams develop innovative features for an app using simple, everyday objects to prototype their ideas. This limitation sparks creative thinking, leading to the development of a highly intuitive gesture-based navigation feature that significantly boosts user engagement.

Collaboration Unleashed

Application: A multinational corporation struggles with siloed departments and hosts a series of play-based workshops to improve cross-departmental collaboration. Through structured team-building activities requiring joint problem-solving and creative storytelling, employees from different departments develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s roles. This leads to a more cohesive project management approach, streamlining operations and reducing project turnaround times.

Adaptive Thinking

Application: A software firm enhances adaptability with a play-based workshop, challenging teams to rapidly prototype solutions for shifting market demands. This playful, high-pressure environment fosters quick iteration and collaborative brainstorming. The result is a new, market-responsive product feature launched ahead of competitors, demonstrating the direct benefits of adaptive thinking cultivated through play.

Adaptive Thinking

Application: A pharmaceutical company at a plateau in innovation adopts a ‘play to innovate’ program. Employees are encouraged to experiment with non-traditional research methods in a risk-free, game-like environment, leading to the discovery of a novel drug formulation process that is more efficient and cost-effective than existing methods. This demonstrates how a playful approach to experimentation can lead to groundbreaking innovations.

Adaptive Thinking

Application: A financial services firm aiming to enhance customer satisfaction integrates play into their service design process. After completing the workshop, they implement a ‘play checklist’ to evaluate every customer interaction point for elements that could enhance the user experience. This approach results in a new user interface for their online banking platform, designed with gamification principles to make financial management engaging and intuitive for users, leading to a significant increase in customer satisfaction ratings.

Workshop
Formats

Half-Day Exploration

An introduction to the transformative power of play, with engaging activities designed to spark creativity and joy.

Full-Day Immersive Workshop

A comprehensive journey through the science and practice of play, including personalized strategy sessions for implementing a culture of play within your organization.

Why Play Personalities Matter

Understanding and embracing diverse play personalities within your team can:

Foster Inclusion and Diversity

Acknowledging the unique ways individuals engage and contribute can enhance team dynamics and innovation.

Boost Morale and Reduce Burnout

Tailoring engagement strategies to match play personalities can significantly improve job satisfaction and mental health.

Align with Company Culture

Integrating play into the core values and mission of your company encourages a more vibrant, dynamic, and resilient organizational culture.

Our Unique Approach

Tailored Play for Every Personality

At the heart of our transformative play workshops lies a fundamental understanding: one size does not fit all. Traditional play workshops often overlook this, offering a generic set of activities that may not resonate with everyone. This oversight can lead to disengagement and missed opportunities for genuine growth and connection.

What sets our workshops apart

is our commitment to recognizing and honoring the diverse play personalities that make up every team and organization while highlighting the benefits of a culture of play. That’s why our approach begins with:

Identifying Individual Play Personalities

Through engaging assessments and discussions, we start by defining everyone’s unique play personality. This foundational step ensures that all subsequent activities are deeply resonant and meaningful

Curating Tailored Group Activities

Armed with insights into each participant’s play personality, we embark on group play activities that highlight the benefits of play in your work environment. Expanding possibilities, reducing stress, increasing creativity and stronger connections are just a few examples of the upside for your teams as we guide them in building a culture of play.

Fostering Meaningful Engagement

By ensuring that participants engage in play that aligns with their natural inclinations and identifying the broader advantages of a culture of play, we facilitate a deeper connection to the activities and to each other. This leads to more meaningful experiences, enhanced learning, and genuine enjoyment.

Tackling Specific Business Challenges

By honing in on the real business challenges faced by organizations, leveraging the dynamic force of play to unearth innovative solutions and strategies. By engaging participants in targeted, playful activities, we directly address and navigate through the complexities of their specific business problems. This focused approach ensures that play transcends theoretical benefits, becoming a practical and potent tool.

The Result?

A workshop where everyone finds value and joy, leading to a more cohesive team dynamic, increased creativity, and a vibrant workplace culture. Our personalized approach not only respects individual preferences but also celebrates the unique contributions each play personality brings to the table.

Why Choose Our Workshop?

Expert Facilitation

Led by Shirin Etessam and Nina Meehan, renowned leaders in the field of play, creativity, and organizational change.

Evidence-Based Approach

Our methods are grounded in solid research and proven psychological principles, ensuring impactful and lasting results.

Customized Experiences

We tailor each workshop to the unique needs and challenges of your organization, ensuring relevance and maximum impact.

Real Impact

The Benefits of Play

Organizations that have embraced play report transformative results:

Enhanced Engagement

Companies with highly engaged workforces see a 21% increase in profitability. (Source: Gallup)

Lower Turnover Rates

Engaged employees are 59% less likely to seek out a new job or career in the next 12 months. (Source: Gallup)

Increased Innovation

82% of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. (Source: Adobe)

Beyond the Workshop

A Commitment to Lasting Change

To ensure that the insights and inspirations from our workshop lead to sustainable change, we offer each participant a comprehensive Integration Plan. This plan is not just about remembering to play; it’s about fundamentally shifting how we engage with our environments and with each other. It’s about carrying forward the joy, creativity, and openness that play brings into all aspects of our lives.

Integration Plan: Transforming Insights into Action

Personalized Play Strategies

Project “Play” Checklist: Receive a customized checklist based on your play personality and workshop insights. This checklist will guide you in integrating playful principles into project management and daily tasks, ensuring that your work is not only productive but also genuinely engaging and fulfilling.

Team Play Initiatives

Play Process Framework: Implement a structured “play process” that guides your team’s approach to work. This framework encourages creative problem-solving, innovative thinking, and dynamic collaboration. It’s designed to make the process of meeting business objectives both enjoyable and effective, fostering a workplace culture where play and productivity thrive together.

'Play It Forward' Actions

Innovation Through Play Workshops: Champion the cause by organizing internal workshops or brainstorming sessions that use play as a catalyst for innovation. Equip your team with the tools to spread the joy and benefits of play, enhancing creativity, well-being, and a sense of community within your organization. This not only amplifies the positive impact but also reinforces a culture of continuous learning and growth.

Meet Your Facilitators

Shirin Etessam and Nina Meehan are at the forefront of integrating play into professional development. With backgrounds in creativity, leadership, and organizational change, they bring a wealth of knowledge and innovative techniques to every workshop.

Shirin Etessam

A transformational thought leader with a rich background in content creation and a deep commitment to fostering play and creativity in adult lives.

Nina Meehan

A pioneer in integrating play and storytelling into educational and professional environments, with a track record of inspiring change and growth.

Thank you!

Please reach out for a 30-minute free consultation

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