Playfulness is one of the most important aspects of innovation

Here’s another little bit of mind candy from Tim Brown [of design company IDEO] taken from the brainbox TED. He talks about the link between play and innovation, how important it is to think back to the way creativity and imagination operated at a childhood level. We fear the judgement of peers.We’re embarassed about showing our ideas to peers. It’s this fear that causes us to be conservative in our thinking. If you looked at our children play, they don’t have this fear, they share their ideas. It’s only as they get older that they lose this freedom. Kids who feel secure and operate in a trusted environment are those most able to truly ‘play’ and take risks. The million dollar question is ‘how do we create this in a working environment?’.

Creative companies often have symbols to show how much they value creativity. At Pixar, animators work in wooden huts or decorated caves. At Whatif Innovation we used to have themed playrooms where we could hold meetings and play around with ideas and concepts. The Googleplex has volleyball courts and a fireman’s pole in the middle of their office. Whether these features actually cause more creativity to occur is kind of irrelevant, it’s what they signify that matters. Many corporates have taken on this ‘playfulness of space’ as an important factor in encouraging and allowing their staff to be creative.

Anyhoo, it’s a great talk and worth watching if you have 27:59 minutes to kill. Enjoy.