What?! Did New & Improved sell ad space to L.L.Bean?
Nope, it's just a group of us from New & Improved on a hike near our Adirondack headquarters. While we were not at our desks, or actively engaged with a client doing Innovative Organization Development, we were learning, connecting, discussing business and making sure we could serve our company and our clients well.
This last week, StefanUhrlandt, a Director of Research & Development at Johnson & Johnson and Bob Eckert, CEO at New & Improved, spoke at the “Back End of Innovation Conference” on “Creating a Sustainable Innovation Culture.”
Stefan’s organization mirrors our own in its regard for this “soft time” to support an innovation culture. Once a week, there is an afternoon jog for any employee that wants to join. Stefan said “Sure, we talk about family and our out of work lives, but we also talk about challenges at work that we need to solve as well.” Stefan’s facility has also made sure that there are comfortable places to hang out and have a cup of coffee with a co-worker, and it makes a difference.
Even at the conference, the New & Improved gang was seen as the “fun” group based on our raffling “Innovation Elixir” and “Brain Brush’n Fluid” and Jonathan Vehar's facilitation style. Natalie Jenkins and Newell Eaton found a fun way for people to have a discussion about “dangerous obsessions” for innovation efforts. And the research is clear. A fun, dynamic work culture produces more creative solutions to the challenges it faces.
We invite you to have some fun with your coworkers. Sure, there are obstacles to overcome. It may cost a little money, it will take you away from your desk, your coworkers may be in different location.
Don't let these issues stop you, change them into questions:
1. How might a group activity be funded? What might be all the low cost and/or free activities we could have?
2. How might we find a day, an afternoon, an hour to have some fun?
3. How might we gather all the people in our group?
A few ideas that come to our minds:
Words with Friends team competition for those in different locations.
Tell us what you did. Even better take a picture or send us a video and show us what fun you had. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it worth it? Not sure what the ROI is on this type of activity? Perhaps it will be like the Mastercard commercials:
bocce ball set $49
trophy for winning team $5
laughed at work today... priceless