Creating a culture of play one small invitation at a time

Ez Bridgman
2 min readMay 17, 2021

I like to think of organisational culture as the result of simple actions every day. In other words, while it is easy to think of lofty values and orientations, any theoretical concept or direction must also show up in actual actions. Does your organisation value kindness? When a colleague speaks behind the back of another, someone may gently disagree and offer a more benevolent perspective. Does your organisation value honesty ? When someone asks for feedback on a project that isn’t yet ready, direct and caring feedback may be given.

By focusing on these daily and recurring interactions, we can actually begin to build those work cultures that we desire. When it comes to creating a culture of play, there are many micro moments that hold the promise of creating playful organisation.

  • Starting meetings with small games.
  • Understanding how each person on the team likes to play.
  • Normalizing a playful celebration of failure.
  • Noticing when someone isn’t having fun and adjusting as needed.

Unfortunately, none of these moments can occur if there isn’t both an invitation and an agreement to play. The starting point, as per usual, is the body.

When you are considering offering a game or a playful moment, notice what is happening in your body. Are you tense ? Nervous ? Excited ? Perhaps you think that your colleagues might find you silly. Take a deep breath and make a tiny offer.

Likewise, when someone extends the invitation to play with you, what is happening in your body ? Do you want to have fun with them ? Do you sense a judgement forming ? Are you afraid that people may judge you for jumping in? Tune in and embrace what you are feeling. See if you can find a soft yes that feels safe to you. The person making the invitation has made a risk and they need a supporter in this very moment.

By offering and accepting, over and over again in the smallest of ways, you’ll notice that your team begins to laugh for no reason, that games are created effortlessly, that the work begins to feel light and invigorating.



Ez Bridgman

Creative experience designer, facilitator and coach based in Montreal. #joy #play #learning /