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Playtime / Playspace: Necessary

Art Alley | Kansas City Crossroads

In the world of digital design and marketing, it is important to step away from the daily grind to charge your creative batteries and refocus on the things that truly matter. In my case, when I am feeling the brunt of a stressful day and weather permits, I will sometimes take a leisurely stroll down Art Alley to clear my head and jumpstart my brain. Our offices are located on the edge of the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and within a short walk, I can be admiring some of the most creative graffiti in the midwest. Nothing will jolt your system like being surrounded by the grit of the city and a lot of bright colors and fantastic imagery!


Our industry has made huge efforts to incorporate areas within our facilities for that very reason. There are video games and ping pong tables, areas to relax, and some have even gone so far as to include kegerators or outdoor spaces where folks can enjoy an adult beverage or stogie and work (or play) in the fresh air and sunshine. In my opinion, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

There are people within your company that may not be comfortable seeing the light of day (you know who you are!), or sitting around playing music with work-mates in the “living room” area of the shop. On the contrary, these are people who tend to find comfort doing what they love, what drives them … the creative process of designing or developing … and they need time to do that on their own terms.

What if there was a place set up inside the company where they could prototype ideas and test usability theories in design or software development?
What if there was a weekly or bi-weekly meeting, maybe over lunch, where these people could brainstorm and use each other as sounding boards for new ideas?
What if this environment had no constraints, deadlines or expectations?
What if this was a safe place where all ideas were welcome and all participants were supportive and encouraging?
Mind blown.

“The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.” (Bob Iger)

Creativity and innovation occurs within an environment that encourages it. If you have the ability to make that happen, your entire company will benefit through employee retention and the quality of work being done for your clients, not to mention it will strengthen a unique entrepreneurial culture that will give your company an edge over that of your competition.

It’s a win win. Let the people play!

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