Why Playing Games Helps Us Reach Outcomes Faster: What Mr. Potato Head Taught Me about Improvement
If you participate in improvement or innovation events, chances are there will be a game to play. It won’t be for long, perhaps an hour, but it will be impactful. The game won’t be an ice breaker or a new-age learning technique. Just the opposite: at IHI, we use games because we know the value of play in learning. The games we use are well thought out, disciplined, and have been tested with our partners, peers, and internal experts. We aren’t asking you to play with Legos for fun. We are asking you to play with Legos because we need you to learn something. Fast. And it’s usually about your behavior. We believe these games are the most efficient way to get the job done.
What happens when you play games to learn about improvement?
- You act without planning: When you are asked to build a Lego structure, to reassemble Mr. Potato Head, or to fold a great paper airplane, you dive into action. You played (and often perfected) these games as a child, so this should be easy – just a fun diversion. You won’t think about the final outcome, and this won’t impact your performance because nobody is judging you on your Lego skills. No one is linking your compensation to your ability to get Mr. Potato Head’s pesky mustache in place. This creates the right atmosphere to act freely.