Playing for a change

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Viv pointed me to The play of change by Lloyd Sandelands. I like the idea of play being at the heart of change – even if this is anathema to those who like to stick the words “change” and “management” next to each other.

Sandelands makes some interesting points. He refers to the famous battle between Deep Blue and Gary Kasparov from which many people deduced that the computer could play better than the man. Sandelands says this reflects a misunderstanding of what play is:

Thus, in an example far from the human ideal, we catch a glimpse of what play is: it is a sharing of life with others. “Play” with a computer is something other than this.

A sharing of life with others, I like that.

He elaborates further, noticing that play is often analysed through an individualist mindset, so that we focus on what’s in it for the individual player we fail to explore why do people play together?

And by taking our answers in the person-centered form of our questions, we do not see what we have missed. We do not think to ask how play expresses a greater life of human community

His alternative notion is this:

Play confounds social science because it is a form of human community rather than a form of individual life. Its puzzles are those of community; particularly of attraction, synchrony, merger, and sel?essness.

If I follow that thought, perhaps we could see play as the way to actually experience the organisations we claim that we want to develop? Sandelands suggests

change…is managed best when it is not “managed” but is “played”

I’d buy that for a dollar.


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