Play? Games? Leadership? Why?
Posted on February 1, 2014
In July this year it will be two years since London hosted the spectacle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, showcasing regeneration and promising a sporting legacy.
Games and play are important for social leaders.
Firstly, in the busy and often serious business of social leadership, games allow us to take time out, to absorb our attentions and relax. They are a part of “looking after yourself”.
Secondly, games can have a hugely positive secondary impact. The Olympics inspired thousands of people to participate in a way that has changed views on power of volunteering, possibly forever.
More than this, creativity, which some argue is a core competence for the 21st century, is so often assisted by creating a playful environment (as many designers, musicians and artists know). It is central to our learning when we are children - Lego know this, and has built on its famous children’s toy range to add 'serious play’, an experiential process to encourage innovation and improve business performance.
Leaders have long used war-games to shape strategy in the military. There’s an element of play in scenario planning and futures work.
Board games offer chance to compete, negotiate, act and perform take on new roles. “Perspectivity” is a game where participants step into the shoes of national politicians to consider real-world choices between economic growth and sustainability.
Football and chess are games played the world over, with language and culture of their own that instantly overcome barriers. Football literally provides a playing field for players from corporates and homeless charities together to play sport side-by-side and discover new skills and common bonds (Streetleague).
Games can also create big business and big communities in their own right. Over three billion hours per week are spent playing games across the world. This creates an enormous international community who are not necessarily being engaged with by either business or the social sector. Social venture Play Mob enables charities to get online and fundraise through games. Decode Global fuses fun and gaming experience with stories of social issues to inspire young people.
Clore Social Games 2014: work – play – lead
In Summer 2014 fellow Fellow Sinem and I will be co-curating a ‘Social Leadership Games’. Taking place on the weekend of 26/27 July 2014, it will explore the roles of play and games in shaping social change.
If you're a Clore Social Fellow then get involved - find out more.
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