Christian Long

Tim Brown: Creativity and Play

In TED Talks on May 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Reflection by CONNOR M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Tim Brown: Creativity and Play

It’s nice to hear that creativity and play aren’t an either/or subject. As I see it, having fun while you create is essential to the success of the creation, as well as the process in general. I believe that creativity should not necessarily only come from something you are good at creating. I believe that a preference and passion for what you create is more important than the actual success of it. Play, as exemplified in the video, dramatically helps in this area.

Creativity thrives in a playful enviornment. If you work in a field that calls for creativity, play should be an integral part. If we were left alone to our thoughts in a very serious enviornment, we would tend to act more like adults, as Brown says, and “self-edit”. The experiment he conducted with the picture drawing is very interesting in that it proves that as we grow old we are more fearful of the opinions of our peers. Creativity is a very spontaneous, risky process in that new ideas are produced, however the dilemma is that we sometimes believe that an idea may not be taken well by others. That is the world we live in, that is who we are. Perhaps children do have an easier time pitching ideas (however ludicrous it might be), and perhaps play is the secret.

So to circumvent the seemingly inevitable problem of aging affecting our creative process, we must bring in play. As silly as it may seem, I’m sure if you tried it for yourself you would have more success than ever. For creativity to reach its full potential, we must lay aside all obstacles.

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  1. I completely agree with just about everything Tim talked about. As a designer, I recognize the importance of play and freedom in the design process. Being able to trust that I won’t be shot down by a superior is imperative.

    One thing I have found difficult is trying to convince clients that play is a natural part of the design process and will actually produce better and more creative results. “I’m paying you to… PLAY?!” they incredulously ask. I’ve had to change the way I describe my process. Instead of “playing” with a design, I’m “experimenting”. Who knew that even the word “play” would make adults uncomfortable!

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