How to Unleash Breakthrough Thinking in Business

On July 3, my guest on The C.A.P. Podcast was Gene Jones, who shared some tips on how you can foster breakthrough thinking in your business using trivia games. What follows is an article he wrote that explains his concept of transformational play a bit more deeply that we were able to go into on the show.

Although aimed at a corporate audience, many of Gene’s take-aways a applicable to the lives and businesses of entrepreneurs.

can playing make you smarter

Photo: © Angelika Bentin /; Design: Carma Spence

How to Unleash Breakthrough Thinking in Business

Secret to spurring innovative, out-of-the-box, game-changing thinking that propels companies to reach their highest potential

By Gene Jones

In today’s rapidly changing and exceedingly competitive business environment, it is imperative to continually uncover new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the curve and, most importantly, not get left behind. To outperform the competition, breakthrough thinking is mission critical—the kind of out-of-the-box ideation that expands horizons and provokes epiphanies. It is about the kind of thinking that can take a company from good to great, or from failing to wildly successful.

The rewards realized from developing even one breakthrough idea can be immense. Indeed, the most successful company is the one that works smarter, not necessarily harder.

Every single employee at an organization is a potential diamond in the rough—possibly possessing latent ideas and visions that lay dormant, which represents an immense potential opportunity. The key challenge is discerning how to tap into that diamond mine and unearth hidden gems—those game changing ideas that propel companies to reach their highest potential.

But, how exactly does an organization foster breakthrough thinking? The answer is surprisingly simple: Trivia! While most people consider such games to be hobbies or playful ways to pass idle time, trivia is far more than just fun and games. In fact, the use of trivia has been proven to unlock the potential of the human mind, thereby improving mental performance and enhancing creativity. One report cited “the engagement and excitement produced by trivia games is directly related to cognitive and brain development.”

What is Transformational Play?

Transformational play is the use of the art of play to accomplish serious business. The mantra of transformational play is: Play First – Work Better – Achieve Superior Results. Therefore, the power of play is not to be underestimated.

Below are 5 proven reasons trivia is a potent tool for mobilizing breakthrough thinking:

  1. Improves cognitive skills by providing mental cross-training known as asymmetric thinking. By inspiring previously unexplored thought patterns, asymmetric thinking stimulates the brain to fire on more cylinders, thereby facilitating greater neuroplasticity that generates greater creativity, innovation, and problem-solving capabilities.
  2. Exemplifies transformational play, which is “play with a purpose,” seamlessly shifting participants to be more alert and receptive to useful information, thus accelerating the learning curve.
  3. Facilitates better memory by increasing accessible intelligence. This is accomplished by exercising memory recall systems in the brain.
  4. Builds community through the sharing of common knowledge, serving as a unique social interaction and communication model.
  5. Assists in concept formation by providing targeted streams of information in a question and answer format, thereby dramatizing concepts by connecting the previously unconnected relationships between events and ideas. This leads to greater understanding of targeted subjects.

With these benefits as a foundation, businesses and individuals can leverage strategically crafted trivia game to gain various critical business advantages. Among other distinct advantages, trivia can:

  • Inspire innovation and facilitate creative ideation;
  • Expedite problem solving;
  • Promote team building and corporate culture development;
  • Enhance the development of leadership skills;
  • Increase productivity performance and growth;
  • Reinforce knowledge and clarify concepts;
  • Foster conversation and communication.

Trivia, when presented in a compelling game show format strategically designed for corporate training, can readily promote the power of cognitive thinking within a business to improve mental dexterity and efficiency among staffers. Trivia games can expand decision-making capabilities and accelerate progress by helping individuals knock down mental ‘walls’ and think more expansively. When aptly exploited, such breakthrough thinking yields extreme competitive advantages that drive organizations ahead of the curve … and keep them there.

About the Author
Gene Jones Gene Jones, one of America’s leading authorities on unlocking innovation through transformational play, has realized great success converting unique trivia game show formats into exercises in mindfulness training. His proprietary “Triviation®” corporate training program is based on the art, science, and educational aspects of transformational play that help individuals and companies unleash and capitalize on their full creative potential. Gene may be reached online at


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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

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