Innovation Research

The Problem:

The increasing complexity in today's business environment gives rise to multiple layers of risk and uncertainty, organizations face tremendous challenge to navigate through this complexity in today’s hyperconnected business world. There are greater demands for new approaches to management.  

Successful innovation remains to be one of the most promising strategies for organizations to strive for the continuance of international competitiveness, sustainable growth and long term survival. However, the day-to-day operations of an organization are dependent on its internal climate. The status of the organizational climate influences organizational processes such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making and psychological processes in relation to self-development and motivation. New paradigms and increasing complexity in the business environment are raising the need to nurture a culture of innovation. A supportive environment which encourages innovation from its employees will most likely yield an organizational climate which in turn affects organizational creativity, motivation and engagement levels, and therefore has a positive effect on organizational performance.

As backed by empirical evidence, a motivated workforce yields better organizational performance. But what current workplaces lack is a kind of structured learning environment combined with challenges and freedom to explore and experiment. When challenges are aligned with clear realistic goals in such an environment, the workforce is able to unleash its potential to increase organizational performance.

Research Focus:

To tackle the few commonly observed problems in an organization, the key is to focus on the people who run its daily operations—the organizational behavior, at every level of the organization, both individually and collectively. By changing its climate and its environment—re-framing how the workplace is structured—we could better influence the organizational and psychological processes, which in turn increases communication between employees and across departments, swift and agile decision-making, intersectional problem-solving, while enhancing motivation and engagement.

A new area of research has emerged recently to suggest that organisations can employ new methods rooted in the act of play and game dynamics, to structure work experiences in a way to keep employees engaged and in flow. As the focus of this study will explore and examine a new method, Change Play Business™, rooted in the act of play, designed to induce creative environments and innovative potential amongst its players.  

The Thinking Hotel, the creators of this new method, Change Play Business™ describes this as an experiential game and a new process of intersectional innovation, combining techniques of play together with serious strategic thinking and cutting-edge knowledge to ignite a transformational journey for existing and emerging businesses, energised by creative synergies.

As Aaron Dignan, the author of Game Frame: Using Games as Strategy for Success highlights, "Good Systems Create Flow". This new process is designed to be a 'flow-producing' activity (Czikzentmihalyi, 1990) intended to deliver optimal experience through engaging people in the act of 'play'. Mihalyi Czikzentmihalyi, is a renowned psychology professor known for his work in creativity and motivation, in particular, his concept of "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience". He states that ‘play’ is the most fundamental ‘flow-producing’ activity. 

This experiential game generates highly focused attention, which is then invested in realistic goals triggered by the intervention of game dynamics. Under these circumstances, each participant is encouraged to harness their existing skills and experience to collectively instigate opportunities for action. 


Conventional organizational structures emphasize efficiency and productivity, often at the cost of organizational energy, creativity and intrinsic motivation leading to innovative practice. To foster both creative environments and innovative potential, organisations can employ new methods rooted in the act of play to enhance motivation and collective engagement.

Research Approach:

This study aims to employ this newly designed process, Change Play Business™, to demonstrate the effectiveness of 'play' as an innovation strategy for organisations to foster both creative environments and innovative potential.