Outplay Takes a Masterclass in Workplace Innovation!

23rd February 2017
Outplay Takes a Masterclass in Workplace Innovation!

Our HR Advisor, Alison Clark recently attended a business workshop to further her understanding in the areas of innovation and shared leadership, in order to digest these learnings and help improve the quality of the workshops and teaching provided through the Outplay Academy. Alison talks about her experience below:

I recently took part in a “Workplace Innovation Masterclass” hosted in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise, Innovating Works, and Strathclyde Business School.

The workshop focused on innovation and shared leadership, so I was looking forward to an afternoon of bright ideas and inspiration that could be taken back and applied to the Leads Workshops currently running through the Outplay Academy Initiative. The afternoon began with Dr. Ashley Roberts from Warwick Business School explaining amongst other things, the benefits of shared leadership. A particular focus of this talk was the importance of fostering communication and information exchange.

Shared leadership isn’t something that’s new to Outplay; we have various managers and leads who share elements of leadership across the project pipeline, however, it was great seeing ideas and talking with others about different methods which could be used to achieve those objectives. While our culture here at Outplay is one of inquiring and exploring, this point is definitely something I will take back and convey within our workshops as an important piece of learning to take away.

Dr. Ashley’s idea of innovation was summed up by “embrace the difference in each of us, and it’s that difference that creates similarity”, perhaps a contradiction at first but it makes sense that to celebrate different perspectives is what acts as a common bond. At Outplay we have a wealth of talent from across the globe and it’s important that we recognise that each person has a part to play in reaching a common goal, and hearing this really reinforced the importance of this idea. 

The second speaker of the afternoon was Marianne Heijineman, an executive coach who works with senior business leaders across Europe. More than other speakers, her experience shone through as that most relevant to Outplay and our industry. Marianne discussed different ways in which you could alter the mindset of leaders in your company to allow for greater innovation and performance.

It was fascinating to hear Marianne’s experience of working for Mars and seeing the extent of the difference made when a leader trusted employees by promoting an environment of “constructive non-conformism”.  She explained some of the drivers of behaviour and the consequences of this subconscious behaviour. With the next Leads workshop focusing on how we say things, the way we say things and the way we look when we’re saying them, it was interesting to digest this example prior to the workshop.

It’s great at a company such as Outplay that we have a culture that allows everyone to suggest changes to our titles, regardless of role or seniority. All projects are on a shared platform for everyone to see, which means everyone can make suggestions if they think there are changes that can be made in order to achieve the best outcome for each project. This is important to Outplay and something we will continue to embrace as we grow, to allow us to be at the forefront of making successful, high-quality, fun games.

The final speaker of the day was Stewart Bromley, COO of “Atom Bank” – although his experience wasn’t as relevant to Outplay as others, it was useful nonetheless. The main point I took from Stewart’s talk was the importance of fostering an environment that facilitates and encourages ideas and innovation – a nice office, meetings spaces, social areas etc. This is an idea we incorporate at Outplay through efforts such as having bright, comfortable spaces for people to collaborate and to encourage creativity. We have further exciting plans coming up to continue this and can’t wait to see it all come to life. Watch this space!

It was a pleasure to attend the workshop; I met some fascinating people and had a great day of sharing ideas and opinions which gave fresh perspectives on how business can operate and cultures develop. I’ve already included some of the practices into our Leads Workshops and we will continue to apply them to other areas of Outplay, with continued learning aimed at facilitating Outplay in making successful, fun, high- quality titles.

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