The Playful Entrepreneur


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How to Adapt and Thrive in Uncertain Times

Mark Dodgson and David M. Gann

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A compelling account of how incorporating play into work can help us overcome the uncertainty and turbulence that surrounds work

How can we learn to deal with uncertainty at work? The answer, as Dodgson and Gann eloquently portray in this pathfinding book, is to learn from the adaptive behaviors of entrepreneurs. Play, the authors show, is a crucial component of this. It encourages exploration, experimentation, and curiosity while it also challenges established practices and orthodoxies. It facilitates change in people and organizations.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs and innovators, this book explains why we should incorporate play into work, what play looks like, and how to encourage playfulness in individuals and organizations. Dodgson and Gann identify four key behaviors that endorse, encourage, and guide play: grace, craft, fortitude, and ambition, and provide a blueprint for an alternative way of working that fosters resilience and encourages innovation and growth in difficult times.

Mark Dodgson is Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland, and Visiting Professor, Imperial College. David M. Gann is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs), and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Oxford.

"Great insights into the behaviours of entrepreneurs and how creativity, intuition and instinct are reshaping the future of work."—Lee Howell, World Economic Forum

"The best way to take possibilities seriously is to play with them. Dodgson and Gann brilliantly detail the care, craft and creativity that make entrepreneurial playfullness pay off."—Michael Schrage, MIT, author of Serious Play and The Innovator's Hypothesis

"A thoughtful exposition on the future of work."—Cyrus Mistry, formerly Chairman of Tata Group

"Play and entrepreneurs. . . . A great combination."—Naveen Jain, founder and CEO of Infospace, founder of Moon Express and Viome

"An exciting and lucid exploration of the entrepreneur's journey."—Sara Murray, founder and CEO of Buddi, founder of

"So different and so important, the discoveries of this book should be read by all who are interested in innovation."—Jingfang Hao, Vice Director of Research, China Development Research Foundation, and winner of the Hugo Award

“The Playful Entrepreneur is a thought-provoking and, above all, uplifting guide to making the workplace a less austere and more creative environment.” —Director

“In a world where the boundaries between work and leisure are increasingly blurred, the insights in this book will be of value to a much broader range of people than those who start businesses” —Financial Times

“A pioneering book” —Ben Olsen, MrPorter

“A new book by innovation studies professor Mark Dodgson and innovation and technology management professor David M Gann attempts to find a positive path forwards through the stories of some of the most creative entrepreneurs.” —WorkingMums

“[Elliott] is particularly illuminating when juxtaposing important milestones and events in one country with contemporary counterparts in the other” —Frank MacGabhann, Irish Examiner

"[The Playful Entrepreneur] offers some very valuable insights into the nature of successful entrepreneurship. . . . [It is] an excellent roadmap for the journey towards the innovation playground."—Journal of Innovation Management

Selected for Choice's 2019 Outstanding Academic Titles List
ISBN: 9780300233926
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
280 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2