The importance of serious play

Yesterday when I was telling the story of Primowireless and their uniquely Taranaki product development process I was reminded about the importance of a strong play ethic.

History is littered with advances that occurred as a result of just playing around with things, sadly our current ‘safety’ oriented ‘PC’ culture seems to be very afraid of play and its consequences, and our corporate culture is not far behind.

I think it’s no coincidence that the gaming culture is not far beneath the surface at Primo, I saw the same thing when I first met the guys from in the 90’s or when we launched ‘Access 2’ as a gamers ISP in Melbourne.

Wellington got CityLink mainly because Richard Naylor ‘played’ with fibre and strung it between council buildings using the overhead trolley bus wires.

So what else should we be playing with, Rural Broadband ? International Connectivity ? Public WiFi ? or low income digital access ?

The thing about playing is that you ignore the rules and assumptions and you can focus on the ‘what ifs?’ and the ‘why nots?’

We have a very risk averse culture in both the public sector and our larger corporates, personal reputation management blinkers senior executives such that the idea of ‘play’ on the company’s time (or dime) is beyond a sacking offence.

Yet if we want to get a digital No8 wire spirit of innovation going its something we’re going to have to do.

And you know what’ll we’ll have some fun doing it…

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