What is a Culture of Play?

Cultivating a daring, imaginative, and adventurous company.

I’m realizing today that many years back, when I started this version of my site in 2005, I wasn’t going far enough in asking the right questions (even though my questions were probably ahead of others at the time).

At the time, I asked “How would a business operate differently if its culture matched that of the Web?”

What I probably really wanted to ask, but didn’t have the courage to openly do so, was “How would a business operate if it’s culture matched that of a high-end World of Warcraft guild?”

In other words, what I’m asking here is “What is a culture that goes beyond just working, beyond even learning, and cultivates playing at its core?”

Of course the initial knee jerk reaction will be “What? You mean a culture of playing games?” No, I obviously don’t mean that (although you could say that it does relate to going beyond playing finite games and focusing on playing the infinite game instead). What I’m talking about here is cultivating an environment of imagination and curiosity whereby everyone feels safe enough to have the courage to step outside of the existing conventional “sandbox” of their work and start exploring a whole new, larger sandbox of possibilities.

What’s remarkable is that at the time I started this site, I also actually came up with a series of words that described this type of culture and this type of company that mirrored the Web (which I entitled “I Work For The Web”). And reflecting back upon it, it most definitely does have a strong resemblance to relating to a culture of play as well.

I work for a daring, imaginative, adventurous, sharing, caring, diverse, open, trusting, honest, flexible, responsible, and connected company.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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