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Science Based

You want real world results. You want to know that this stuff works. Here is some of the science behind the work that I do.

Resources, Books, Papers, etc.

Effects of Improvisation Techniques in Leadership Development. Tabaee, F. (2013)

Games Managers Play: Play as a Form of Leadership Development. Kark, R. (2011)

I’ve Got Your Back: Utilizing Improv as a Tool to Enhance Workplace Relationships. Cole, J. (2016)

Serious Play as a Practice of Paradox. Statler, M., Heracleous, L., & Jacobs, C. D. (2011)

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Brown, Stuart. (2010)

Serious Work: How to Facilitate Meetings & Workshops Using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Method. Blair, S. & Rillo, M. (2016)

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Kelly, T. & Kelly, D. (2013)

Results as quoted by other coaches

From Melissa Dinwiddie
Here are 9 specific ways researchers have shown that play is good for business.
In the paragraphs below, you’ll find direct excerpts from research papers, showing that play…
1. Creates an optimal environment for learning
Improv training teaches individuals to actively listen, work as a cohesive and supportive ensemble, co-create in the present, take productive risks, and embrace failure (Vera & Crossan, 2004).
2. Supports innovation
The ability to play is crucial for today’s leadership and management, since it can enhance leaders’ ability to be creative and promote ongoing innovation and organizational change (Kark, 2011).
3. Contributes to knowledge sharing & creativity
Playful team interactions … can contribute to enhanced levels of team knowledge sharing and creativity (Kark, 2011).
4. Supports coping with change and ambiguity
The experiential, emergent, and mindful nature of improvisational techniques has shown to be a successful tool for coping effectively with continuous change, making spontaneous decisions, managing stress, and developing the adaptable skillset of leaders, teams, and organizations (Cunha, Cunha, & Kamoche, 1999; Jackson, 1995; Safian, 2012; Van de Walle & Vogelaar, 2010).
5. Enhances decision making
Play teaches leaders how to make better spontaneous decisions. 97% of leaders reported that they would change the way they make spontaneous decisions from pretest by using their intuition more and using improvisation principles (Tabaee, 2013).
6. Enhances Strategic Thinking
… serious play has been associated with the cognitive generation of new insights relevant for organizational practice [including] innovative strategy content (Jacobs & Statler, 2005; Roos et al., 2004; Statler & Oliver, 2008); innovative product designs (Schrage, 2000); the surfacing and expression of tacit knowledge (Oliver & Roos, 2007); and the facilitation of analogical reasoning in strategy (Statler, Jacobs, & Roos, 2008) (Statler, Heracleous, & Jacobs, 2011)..
7. Fosters leadership development
…types of play that encourage identity play, such as role-play, simulations, and outdoor experiences, which provide structures in which the individuals have the opportunity to explore a new role, position, or leadership behavior, are likely to foster the development of a leader identity (Kark, 2011).
8. Encourages investment!
Play contributes to individuals’ vitality, that is, the subjective experience of having energy, feeling alive, and fully functioning. It is an affective experience that encompasses approaching tasks with excitement, energy, enthusiasm, and vigor and not doing things halfway or halfheartedly. Psychologically, this state of aliveness makes a person feel that his or her actions have meaning and purpose (Kark & Carmeli, 2009).
People who feel high levels of vitality tend to view events positively and invest more effort in activities and tasks and feel higher levels of work engagement (Ryan & Frederick, 1997). Thus, when individuals and managers have a high level of energy, vitality, and engagement, they are likely to invest in their learning and practice of skills as leaders and master the needed skills (Kark, 2011).
9. Accelerates collaboration and team performance
By bringing teams together through trust and mutual engagement, improv can generate the collaborative, interdependent environment needed for successful goal achievement and organizational success (Cole, 2016).
…there is empirical evidence that improv training can drive optimal organizational performance by increasing team creativity, communication, and team cohesion (Cole, 2016).

We know that finding a sense of belonging is important but how do we foster that within our teams, organizations and communities?

Through play. And here’s some reasons why.
🌟Mattering - Psychologist, Prilleltensky Isaac defines mattering as adding value and feeling valued in a context outside ourselves. We all have a need to matter. Play creates a natural give and take within the context of a game or activity. Play is participatory, not something you passively do on the sidelines, so your presence matters. When children play with others during recess, they know they matter. It’s not too different as adults.

🌟Collective effervescence - Collective effervescence is a term that was coined by sociologist Emile Durkheim. He observed the ways groups were collectively moved in religious experiences and how it powerfully bonded people. We can also feel collective effervescence in places like the dance floor, at a concert or playing a game. Play offers a shared experience that connects us to others in a unique (and fun!) way.

🌟Flow - Flow is a mental state that was recognized by researcher and psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. It is characterized by complete absorption and is brought on when we are fully engaged with an activity. When we are in flow our self-consciousness drops and we connect more authentically with others. We can all think of a time when we were having so much fun with others that we lost track of time. Play can induce a flow state that creates an environment for authentic connection, rather than unnecessary formalities.

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