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Play, Creativity, and Adults Are Big Stupid Heads

Tim Brown on creativity and play [TED video]

Tim Brown is the CEO of IDEO, the global design firm. In his TED talk, he speaks about play as an enabler of creativity and the different modes of play that can be involved in creativity. He highlights play exploration, construction play, and role play specifically.

Perhaps the most important topic Tim discusses is that of his opening: adults’ tendency to self-edit and act (or rather not act) out of fear of judgment. How many creative solutions to our world’s problems are left unexplored for fear of looking foolish?

Play has an amazing ability to break down these sorts of barriers. For example, in normal daily life, we naturally maintain and respect personal space. However, as soon as we engage in sports (play) we immediately puncture those boundaries of personal space — often without a single thought of it. Similarly, play can free us to be creative despite learned social norms to the contrary. It’s for this reason that I’m particularly drawn to the challenges and opportunities of adults at play. Of course, it’s my conjecture that playful technologies are the path to get us there.

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