Playing to Win: The Surprising Power of Play in Innovation
29 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 10, 2015
Organizational teams are the primary mechanism by which ideas are birthed and recombined into innovations for maintaining or achieving competitive advantage. We know that resources of people, time and funding impact team effectiveness in innovating. We also know that factors such as individual traits of talent, expertise, and collaboration skills also matter greatly. What is less known, and less studied, is the role of team characteristics, in particular, team play and team playfulness on innovation results. Our two-part study examined 145 teams and discovered that team playfulness is present on all successful innovation teams and its forms emerge as divergence and deep engagement. These are two paradoxical forms of play both of which positively impact team innovation success. Findings support two emerging theories of play in organizations, and run counter to prevailing notions that plat serves no role in the serious and competitive work of organizations.
Keywords: Innovation; teams; innovation teams; engagement; play; playfulness; serious play
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation