Unstructured Play at Work

The Today Show this morning featured a segment about how kids are in too many structured activities, and that the brain actually develops best through unstructured play.  A guy from screamfree.com even talked about how kids learn to think and innovate by not having so much structure.

So what about in the workplace?  Is innovation drying up?  Is it because we have too much structure and scripted activity in our jobs?  When was the last moment you had an unscripted, unplanned, unstructured moment at work?  I'm not talking about a unexpected fire-drill.  Sometimes structure and process helps you get through those.  Have you had an impromptu brainstorming session with your staff, taken a siesta under your desk, or stood on your head in your office?  How about a lunch out where you don't talk about work?  

I'm one of those people that wakes up in the middle of the night to write down ideas that pop into my head.  Is it because my brain has a chance to rest in an unstructured way?  

Many companies are starting to extend their suggestion box programs into true innovation drivers by setting up unstructured idea-sharing systems.  It's a sort of social networking concept that gives people time and space to contribute ideas. Companies like Bright Idea are banking on the fact that we need more open idea sharing and time to network online. Are you using idea-sharing or types of unstructured play to drive innovation?

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