Don’t Say Play! How Fear Is Keeping Us From One Of The Greatest Strategies For Innovation + Inclusion

Organizations “in play” are adaptable, inclusive, innovative, engaged, and productive. Want to know what organizations fear? That when we are “in play” we are not “working”. We are afraid that play means silly, and unproductive, and makes us feel unprofessional and uncomfortable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Play is that thing you do that you enjoy so much you get lost in. When you are doing it you don’t know where the time went. Play is personal. What do you do at work that you really love to do? Why do you go back to work every day? In there lies “the play”. And it is voluntary…no one can make you do it. If the ping pong tables and cupcake socials are not your play, then they are doing nothing to increase your productivity or potential.

However, When we are “in play” we are utilizing our whole self, revealing our potential, physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally. It is scientifically proven that the brain “in play” drives motivation, and imagination, and is most open to new ideas and concepts. Play is where we are most capable of and open to creative and dynamic thinking — it is also when we are most open to considering multiple perspectives and new ideas and we are most inclusive

Work and play are not separate-when you do the work you love, and you were meant to do, the two constructs are seamless. You won’t know where one starts and the other begins. “In play” are creative solutions for innovation, inclusion, productivity, and profit.


Brandi Heather
Brandi Heather
I have always played outside the lines. With a Master’s degree in Physical Education and Inclusive Curriculum development. I've taught 1000’s students at colleges, universities, community organizations, schools, and businesses the value of inclusion, most often by helping them find first the value in themselves. I was often considered the quirky college professor who taught the "soft subjects" alongside the serious academics. I was known for showing up to a class with carts full of “unusual tools” including playdough and plaster to teach kinesiology, communication, and human service principles. I thrived in spaces where people didn’t quite fit because often, I also did not quite fit. My goal is not to make every space and person the same but to demonstrate the strength of difference. I am a Therapeutic Play Specialist, I speak locally and internationally on the power of play for growing from diversity to inclusion and igniting innovation and engagement in all levels of education, business, and community programming. In 2018 I left the world of “college professor” to start a journey into entrepreneurship. I have fallen down many times to get back up and do what I love. In the past 10 years, I have founded award-winning not-for-profit and for-profit businesses grounded in diversity and inclusion, mental health, and play. I am now my own company, Brandi Heather Consulting, helping to build organizations where people want to be by unleashing the extraordinary potential of people. I unpack the aversion to playing and unstructured play by utilizing the science of play to change the way we take care of ourselves, connect with others, and solve some of the greatest social challenges of our time. I wrote Return To Play, Rebuilding Resilience, Risk and Reconnection in 2021 to share my lived experience, passion, and dedication to getting the world back “in play".

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