Play Ball to Innovate

Play Ball to InnovateSometimes the best way to innovate is to lighten up.  If you are going to create products that help people to feel better, sometimes you should start by doing something that makes you feel better. Take a time out to play and have a little fun to shake up your thinking and apply the energy boost and perspective to break up problems. We all know play is active, experiential and joyful, but play can also be purposeful for the innovator.

A new toy featured at the Consumer Electronics Show this month may be an interesting item to stimulate your thinking. Sphero is a smartphone-controlled robotic ball, the size of a cue ball, that has a range of apps such as SpheroGolf and Sphero Draw ‘N Drive.  Playing with Sphero can get your creative juices flowing and redirect your thinking in a variety of new directions.  When you want to stimulate a team, new Sphero apps offer the opportunity to create a challenge or race among colleagues. Consider these playful energizers:

  • Hold an indoor winter golf challenge at the office with Sphero
  • Unleash creativity and set up a crazy obstacle course for team races
  • Assemble a diverse group of individuals and use the Sphero experience as a catalyst to create innovative ideas or experiences based on play.
  • Identify all of the user’s sensory inputs and actions associated with playing and relate those to your business
  • Brainstorm apps for your business that could offer customers a more enjoyable experience

Playing with apps and smartphones offers the added benefit of stimulating thoughts about how this type of engagement could be built into your brand’s product or service offering.  Consumers are looking for more excitement and entertainment from product experiences so don’t miss the opportunity to translate your play experience with Sphero into a shiny new idea for your brand.


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Donna Sturgess is the President and Co-founder of Buyology Inc and former Global Head of Innovation for GlaxoSmithKline. Her latest book is Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive

Donna Sturgess




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