A new year means new beginnings for many people. For me, it means engaging in new modules at Kingston University. This semester we are looking at creativity, and how creativity emerges as a result of a collective process – more specifically we are looking at how to manage creativity successfully, what skills and behaviours enforce the collaborative creativity and innovation.
As an introduction to the module we examined the importance of play – play as an adult, as a creative individual and as a group – and how play can fuel the creative mind, and create insight into behavioural patterns from those around you. How play can help tell a story.
More than ever, we live in a performance-driven culture, and the development of technology has created even more ways to measure and enhance performance. In our search to create a perfect frame for our professional development, we forgot how to play. According to Stuart Brown (2008), play is essential in order for our brains to develop, and nothing “lights up the brain like play” (Laverne, 2014).
So as with everything else at KU, we engaged in a practical exercise to understand the effects of play, and how play, as a part of teamwork, could better the result of creative solutions.
To conduct the exercise we were given a set of LEGO Play. LEGO created the series, because the CEO and managers at LEGO felt they needed a new, more collaborative and creative way of solving problems in design and product development. It is now widely used by companies to enhance creative solutions (Kristiansen, 2016).
One of the exercises we had to complete was to illustrate – through the use of LEGO – a day where we felt creative. One described the day as characterised by movement, one as a ‘mindfulness’ situation (not in its traditional “meditation”-sense, but more as a day where nothing interrupts the creative flow), one as a perfectly connected mind/body, and one as a day filled with passionate activities.
As a collaborative exercise we then had to pick the most important illustrative piece from our LEGO-creation, and combine all four into “The Perfect Creative Day”. The photo above is a result of that creative collaboration. I’m not going reveal what the different pieces represent – maybe it obvious?
The exercise gave us all an insight into what drives us to be creative, motivated and innovative. I imagine that this particular exercise is perfect to break the ice in new collaborative environments. Not only does it give insight into the ideal scene for creativity, but it also tells us a lot about how people assign meaning to projects and creative outputs.
“…the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression. And I think if you think about life without play — no humor, no flirtation, no movies, no games, no fantasy and, and, and. Try and imagine a culture or a life, adult or otherwise without play[…] we begin to lose those signals, culturally and otherwise, as adults. That’s a shame. I think we’ve got a lot of learning to do“. – Stuart Brown (Brown, 2008).
Brown, S. (2008). Play is more than just fun. [online] Ted.com. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital?language=en [Accessed 27 Apr. 2017].