Multiplication Center

The Red Rubber Ball at Work

March 24, 2009

In scouring research and resources on innovative processes I came across The Red Rubber Ball at Work   by Kevin Carroll. Simply written, it's a fun reRed Rubber Ball at Workad about the serious business of play and how it impacts how you innovate, interact and produce in the workplace. Carroll cites stories and research from dozens of thought leaders and successful individuals, such as Seth Godin, Tom Kelley, Tinker Hatfield and Ivy Ross about their play histories and how it brought them to where they are today. Their stories reveal that as children they were allowed to be messy, try new things and sometimes skin their knees. In other words they were encouraged to dream, create, innovate and fail. It served them well. Not only are their stories inspirational and intriguing, but the corollaries between their childhood play styles and current genius is thought provoking. Carroll asks, 'Why, then, do play and work seem so contradictory? Why, as adults, do we relegate them to separate spheres, and why do so few workers and companies vaule play as a means to producing effective work?'  The reader is challenged to wonder, can bringing elements such as creative toys, board games based on strategic thinking, and improvisation into your board room or staff meetings effect your productivity and effectiveness as an organization? Can it help your team arrive at those illusive solutions and get past the 'stuck'? Carroll says yes, getting there faster and having more fun on the journey.

If you're looking for inspiration in stimulating the innovative thinking processes of your team, here's Carroll's advice, 'in order to play at work you have to be willing to work at play.'

Written by Sherry Surratt, Director of the Women's Initiative

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