Why Your Team Can't Experiment

Everyone is talking about it, but very few are doing it. Experimentation. It's a word we hear banded around our modern business world a lot.

Most people I talk with believe that it's their organisation that's holding them back... "We don't have the right environment" "Our leadership doesn't understand the benefits" "We're too busy working on high priority stuff"

All excuses in my opinion. If you took those constraints away tomorrow your team would still not experiment. Because they can't do it.

It’s actually in our DNA to be playful and intuitive. Just look at how kids explore new things. They even taste things that make us cringe! Nasty stuff we think. They play with things in unusual ways and often break them. So we tell them off for that. But kids don't care - they're busy learning.

So if kids can do it, it should be easy right?

Trouble is, through all our corporate conditioning we’ve had the ability to experiment driven out of us... "Bring me the business case" "Present me the best option" "How quickly can you deliver it" All things that make us bring the first solution to problems rather than experiment to find the best solution. 5, 10 or 15 years of that environment is enough to take the kid out of everyone.

So if you want your team to start experimenting, you've got to help them with some un-learning first. Like everything in life, old habits are hard to shift. So just like your personal trainer would say - take things easy to start. Try a few easy routines until you build up your strength. Then go for it!

Injecting playfulness back into your team

The first routine is to get your team thinking differently about how they work together. Play is a proven learning technique that allows children to use their creativity while developing imagination, dexterity, cognitive and emotional strength. So it's time to bring some play into the workplace.

I'm not advocating soft playgrounds in the office - it's not Silicon Valley here - but you can bring elements of play into your team environment to explore and practise being more experimental. At Modulearn, we use Serious Play techniques to get teams to learn a new skill or technique. We often move from play to experimentation taking people out of their comfort zone. It helps them become more creative and inquisitive and willing to try something new. It works.

If you need some inspiration, head on over to our Serious Playground. Here there are plenty of free remote team games you can play while we are all working from home.

A simple game for 5 minutes before your next team meeting will begin your change. It will nurture creativity in the team and encourage more lateral thinking.

What are you waiting for?

So now there's nobody else to blame! Start your team on their first routine with simple playful exercises to get the team fit for experimenting.

Just as your personal trainer would say - keep up with regular exercise and you'll see the benefit in no time.

If you need help getting your team motivated to experiment, then contact us to find out how we help teams unlock their skills become the explorers you need them to be.