How Serious Play Can Help You Do Serious Work In Healthcare

TFTTBlogCan playing games really help you get serious results in healthcare? A resounding yes!, says Andrea Simon, Ph.D., President/Founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), in her insightful article how playing games can generate new, innovative ideas, recently published in Becker’s Hospital Review.

Dr. Simon observes, “With all the pressure these days on healthcare administrators to realign their organizations fast and often in order to thrive, or even just survive, perhaps what is needed is to ‘play’ a little more. Serious play, using proven, insight-producing Innovation Games®, is one of the best ways we have found to help all levels of staff generate new ideas and convert them into great innovations.”

The speed of change, particularly in healthcare, is creating a crisis requiring top-notch innovation — not just the front-end of idea generation, but the back-end of execution, as well. Rather than continuing to perform the old standardized routines, companies now need to generate creative, innovative solutions that will attract and delight customers, Dr. Simon advises.

Where do you find those new ideas?

The challenge is that there is a universe of new ideas awaiting us if only we have a way to capture them and turn them into impactful innovations, she notes. The solution? Playing games. Not simply “playful” or silly exercises, but serious play — games that have structure to them. Simon Associates utilizes “Innovation Games®,” designed by Luke Hohmann and modified by SAMC practitioners with other games from the cognitive sciences that help people discover their untapped creativity.

Why games?

The randomness of games fools the brain and lets it see things in new ways. Games also help us imagine better solutions: new brand stories, new products or services that will solve consumers’ problems, new ways businesses can expand into an unexplored market.

So can playing games work in the healthcare industry?

Absolutely! Innovation Games are particularly successful at helping healthcare professionals generate the germs of ideas that will eventually showcase what’s new and most impressive about their institution ― what differentiates it from all of the other options. This is what will attract new users, delight them and then encourage them to return.

If you want to generate new, innovative ideas, Dr. Simon suggests gathering a variety of people and watching them “build” your business in the form of a box. This might bring previously unimagined insights into how you could go about your business differently. If you have invested a great deal in the design of a service line, maybe an Innovation Game can help you reduce or eliminate features or functionality that don’t add value for your customers. Games can also bring about employee engagement, especially when major changes are happening.

Amazingly, games really do get people thinking, which leads to new ideas and actionable results…often the difference between conquering the future and fading into irrelevancy. As Dr. Simon confirms in her article, serious play to do serious work really works!

To read Andrea Simon’s article in its entirety in Becker’s Hospital Review, click here.

Andrea Simon, PhD, principal and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, has over 20 years’ experience as a senior executive with healthcare and financial services institutions. Ms. Simon’s expertise lies in helping companies and non-profit institutions develop their brand positioning, redesign their organization’s culture and improve their financial performance through innovative and effective product development and marketing.