We got a ping pong table as a family gift for Christmas. So it’s official. Just like all those other fun workplaces with ping pong, we can be innovative now!
Oh wait, the ping pong table doesn’t actually create the innovation. It’s the humans. *Somebody quick tell all those companies that installed the tables!*
And innovate we have! It turns out that no one in my house is inherently good at ping pong (though my spouse is easily the best player here) so we need lots of practice. The balls spend more time bouncing on our unfinished basement floor than on the table. We were spending most of our time chasing them. Until we innovated.
We had a few random pieces of drywall that we were able to lean against some other items to create a ball blockade. They don’t go all the way up like a wall would, but they do keep most of the errant ping pong balls from rolling too far away. In some cases, the bounce off the makeshift wall is enough to get the ping pong ball back in play!
Sidebar: No, I haven’t checked the official ping pong rulebook to know if that’s legal or not!
We didn’t set up the drywall the day we unpacked the table. It took time and experimentation to see what was and wasn’t working for us. That’s usually the way innovation works. It’s not the modern furniture or the gaming tables that create innovation. It’s the humans that have the time and freedom to experiment that are fixing problems, big and small.
One of the most important questions leaders can ask themselves is what they should stop doing so their team has more time. Stressed, overworked employees can’t be innovative, no matter how hard they try.
If you want innovation, create the space for it. Ping pong table optional.
#PositiveAction What’s something that’s been annoying you at work or at home that you could fix today? Take a little time and experiment to see if you can make it better!
Photos by me. The first is a fancy portrait of the paddles. The second is the unfancy but functional ball blockade.