NO MAN (OR WOMAN) IS AN ISLAND
Levels of the Jester Call: ennui, boredom Level One: life as a game, fun Level Two: cleverness used to trick others, get out of trouble, and find ways around obstacles, transformation Level Three: Life experienced in the moment, one day at a time Shadow: self-indulgence, irresponsibility, mean-spirited pranks At Patagonia, in California, when the surf is up, the plant closes down and people hit the beach. The unwritten expectation in these companies is that employees are motivated by a desire for play. A pompous or dull person, with no sense of humor, is unlikely to thrive there. And, of course, the products the ﬁrm produces help people enjoy themselves. The headquarters of Burger King in Miami has recreational space integrated with work space, including a pool table, roller hockey, an in-line skating rink, and a basketball court (in progress). Employees are known to toss Frisbees past others hard at work, and bunks and showers support those who like to stay ’round the clock alternating work and play.2 The Jester helps foster innovation in organizations, whatever their core archetype, by breaking up traditional categories of thinking. For example, Carol Pearson divided the staff of a major cancer hospital into brainstorming groups by archetype in order to generate ideas about how patients’ experiences in the hospital can be improved. All of the groups generated good ideas, but the best came from the Jester group; it concluded that cancer patients should enjoy their lives! Instead of wiling away afternoons in waiting rooms when doctors were running behind, patients should be given beepers, so that they can stroll to the shopping mall or, the group added, watch a movie in the special patient theater they also envisioned! To the Jester, no outcome—even saving your life—should mean sacriﬁcing joy in the here and now.
2. Rolf Jensen, The Dream Society: How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999), p. 138.