Bringing play into business

It’s tricky to balance creativity with commercial realities, such as budgets and deadlines. It’s easier to just be head down, getting the work ‘done’, rather than think outside the box. So at the Canterbury Tech Summit this year one of the talks that really stood out to me was by Keri Niven from Aurecon. She spoke about play in the workplace and building a maker culture.

Keri was suggesting we ‘embrace our inner four-year-old’ and allow time to capture, evaluate and work on creative ideas, no matter how far fetched. Having a four-year-old of my own I can appreciate this concept as my own is a wealth of crazy ideas!

Aurecon captures ideas from their employees, and even clients, which are voted on – the popular ones are selected for additional funding and resources to further validate the idea. They use the ‘fail fast, fail often’ mantra so that they can quickly evaluate many ideas, then move on to the next one if the previous is not working out.

The whole process is managed by an overarching guideline of ‘serious intent’, in that only ideas that directly meet business objectives continue to get developed.

Obviously, being an engineering company, Aurecon has people with the right skillsets to make the best use of maker spaces, but I’m sure there are aspects of this process that could be implemented in any company.

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