What is the link between creativity and play?

Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 01:40 am
What I enjoyed about this TED video is that it isn't restricted to marketing/innovating of products. The same concepts carry over to other aspects of life.

Did you know that the creative innovation behind the computer mouse was a roll-on deoderant bottle? The prototype for a surgical instrument was a marking pen, 35mm film canister and clothes pin all taped together.

At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play -- with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn't).

Tim Brown is the CEO of Ideo, a design firm founded by David E. Kelley in 1991. Brown carries forward Ideo's mission of fusing design, business, and social studies to come up with deeply researched, deeply understood designs and ideas. Ideo is the kind of firm that companies turn to when they want a top-down rethink of a business or product -- from fast food conglomerates to high tech startups, hospitals to universities. Ideo has designed and prototyped everything from a life-saving portable defibrillator to the defining details at the groundbreaking Prada shop in Manhattan (IDEO designed those famous see-through dressing rooms).

Ideo's website sandboxes are a fun browse (recommended: Kid & Play, focused on children and fun). And check out the Global Chain Reaction for a sample of how seriously this firm takes play.


When are you at your most creative best?
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Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 10:59 am
I've written about this before but don't want to go look it up - in fact the key discussion for me was probably between JLNobody and myself on the old abuzz forum. I might define "play" as a little different than present common assumptions, seeing exploration as almost an equation with play..

but, anyway, to me it's a key part of art and design and the prime reason I'm interested in art and design process. I changed my life towards art and design while I was still working in medical labs because of the satisfaction of the play component. I'll grant some med research involves play, but I wasn't personally in that stratosphere, though my bosses were.

Of course I also often like the visual or aural results of my and others' "play", so the process and the results work as a pair to me... well, they work as a pair whether or not I think the results are great at the time.
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Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 11:10 am
You should ask THIS Ted.


He's the ebodiment of the two.
Reply Tue 27 Dec, 2016 10:12 pm
In 1997 a lone bottlenose dolphin was observed generating bubbles to drive fish to the surface so it could more easily catch them. Prior to this there were only three sea mammal species that were known to use this hunting technique. Dolphins are well known for their playful nature and a common form of play is bubble rings, which they create for themselves through their blowholes. The lone bottlenose dolphin was demonstrating its creative abilities by adapting its bubble play behaviours to create a novel hunting solution.

The act of play has been observed and researched extensively across a wide range of animals – including humans. Research suggests that playfulness is an important developer of creative ability.

Researchers in the UK recently conducted a survey, which investigated how people think about themselves. The people who characterised themselves as playful also thought of themselves as creative, and this self-assessment was validated with a creativity test. Those who thought of themselves as playful performed significantly better compared to those who thought of themselves as less playful.

From a psychology perspective, play is generally categorised as non-serious activities that have no obvious application. You know if you are being playful if you’re having fun, acting spontaneously, in a positive mood and are intrinsically motivated – so you are not relying on a result or a reward.

Play will bring you into contact with a range of different experiences that can be relevant to solving a problem with a novel solution at a later time – just like the bottlenose dolphin. Playfulness also creates conditions where you are free to experience situations beyond what you normally would in everyday life.

Us adults typically play less than children, so if you want to increase your playfulness to support your creative abilities, here are some suggestions:

If you have kids – play more with them! It could be anything from a rough-and-tumble to an imaginary game that engages your playfulness.
Find time to have a joke with your colleagues – we often get caught up on pressing deadlines and forget to have fun.
Get on top of your bad moods and stress as these aspects limit the oppotunity for playfulness to spontaneously occur.
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Reply Mon 22 May, 2017 07:45 pm
Your avatar is so cool..
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