Play: An Essential Piece of Every Good Culture

For all of our friends on the northern hemisphere, summer has arrived. The weather is great, the cities are buzzing, and the energy is in the air. But unfortunately, many work cultures don’t take advantage of this opportunity to get outside and fill our heads with the blossoming inspiration.

Play can show up in a lot of ways—monthly happy hours to connect with colleagues, kicking off the company’s morning with a few improv games, a weekly lunch for the whole company to connect, dressing up in hot dog costumes and sledding down a mountain—all real examples we’ve been inspired by from our own clients. What we’ve learned is, it doesn’t matter how you do it – figure out what play means for your team, your organization, or your friends and find a way to create a regular ritual around it.

If you’re stuck, here are a few things to remember:

  • Don’t force it – find something that feels organic, and that your colleagues will be excited about.
  • It’s a habit, not an event – don’t overemphasize one instance, but rather find ways to make it a part of everyday life. (CLICK TO TWEET)
  • Find the bigger picture – it doesn’t always have to tie back, but when you can draw a parallel to the work you’re doing, selling it internally will be a whole lot easier.

The picture above is from our fishing trip, a play day we’ve run in the summer with loyal members of our public and organizational client community. We do it to connect and be inspired from our most passionate peers, but we also do it to refill our own mental tanks and take a break. It’s an essential part of creative thinking, and summer is a great time to build it in.

Hope to see you and your team on a future fishing trip. Until then, find a way to inspire your team in the next week, and share it with us @thedesigngym on Twitter.

Andy Hagerman
[email protected]

The Design Gym is a strategy and innovation consultancy helping leaders to grow their business by fully unlocking the power of their most important asset: their people. We work at the intersection of business strategy, experience design, and change management to engage the people that matter most to your work: your customers, your leaders, and your employees. Andy Hagerman is one of the co-founders and partners at the organization and is based in Beacon, New York. See something that resonates with a project or challenge you're working on? Shoot me a note at [email protected]. I’d love to connect.


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