PLAY for Creativity and Innovation

Play2Did you know that serial innovators such as IDEO, Google, Apple and others regularly use Play to generate better ideas?

 “Play is the highest form of research.”    Albert Einstein

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”  Plato

Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO:  “Part of maintaining a thriving creative culture is giving people time and permission to play.”

“Creativity is intelligence having Fun.”  Albert Einstein

What can we learn from Play?

Games are described as “a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons”.

What enables us to innovate, problem-solve, and be happy, smart, resilient human beings?  – Our ability to PLAY.

That’s what the research of Dr. Stuart Brown says. He is a physician, psychiatrist, clinical researcher and his conclusion is that play is no less important than oxygen, and that it’s a powerful force in nature that helps determine the likelihood of our very survival. Brown reveals that play is an essential way we learn to socialize.

He describes how play helps brain development and promotes fairness, justice and empathy. His research goes on to show that play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply involved with human development and intelligence. His work reveals that:

  • Play shapes the Brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates us
  • It is found that highly successful people have a rich play life
  • It makes us healthier – both mentally and physically
  • Play provides positive emotional control, social competency, and personal resiliency
  • It offers social, emotional and cognitive broadening
  • Those that play are flexible, have greater humor, live with irony, have the capacity for optimism, and are able to deal with stress

A Word about Corporate Innovation

We have a lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. When you do something different – put yourself in new and novel a situation – it builds neural pathways – allows for brain plasticity.

Science provides data to show that play leads to more creative, adaptable workers and teams. And today, over 75% of the U.S. work force performs information work which requires workers to collaborate, to make judgments, and to solve complex issues.

So, play-based practices create innovative, problem solving work teams.

Executives running organizations want to understand the true nature of play. Organizations that play find that their people have heightened sensitivity, increased self-awareness, and effective group and interpersonal communication.

Engage in Play for Creativity and Innovation when you need your people to:

  • Be more creative and collaborative
  • Build better-quality strategies
  • Gain greater interpersonal connections
  • Build stronger teams
  • Merge cultures for greater understanding and productivity
  • Play to tap into your intuition and inner intelligence

In a world of major continuous change, playful people who can roll with the punches and innovate through their play-inspired imaginations will better survive.

See Tim Brown of IDEO’s TED Talk on Play and Creativity:


For more information on Stuart Brown:

Photo credit: Spolin-IST