You can see it all here:
Play has many benefits. Most keenly for the dog, it changed the power dynamic of the play participants. The bear, at 1,200 lbs, clearly has the upper hand (paw?) in any encounter with a dog. But, when they - and we humans - step into that parallel universe of play, so much shifts.
And, not only does the power dynamic shift - so does our thinking. When we, even as adults, engage in something just for fun, play does great things for the brain. Nothing lights up the brain like play, says Brown, and puts impulses into our pre-frontal cortex (our executive function - locus of rational, decision-making). Socially, play activity helps build trust between participants.
In my workshops, I use play as a device to build creativity. Why? Because it's hard to execute a suggestion like "just be more creative." But, when I encourage folks to be like kids again and pretend to be anything - an insect, a bird, a cat - and then consider something from that perspective, they have great fun. AND, their creativity gets a real boost.
As the creativity expert Edward De Bono has said, "If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas." I've used DeBono's 6 Thinking Hats method - which asks us to look at a problem from 6 perspectives - to help teams be more creative in their problem solving. Each viewpoint is called a hat (white hat = facts; green hat = ideas; red hat = gut reactions, etc). We take turns putting them on (figuratively, though wearing real hats can be awesome), and looking at the problem from each hat's perspective. It seems way more like play than work.
And, here's one of the benefits that Brown mentions early on: everyone gets a turn, and so the power dynamic in the room is leveled out. Egos seem to fade; people don't pull rank. Everyone's in it for the fun of solving the problem.
Work that looks like fun? I'm all for it.