Play and Creativity

In this module we learnt just how important creativity really is. In a global study by IBM in 2010, of 5000 Chief Executive Officers across 60 countries and 33 industries, creativity was selected as the most crucial factor for future success. As well as this, 78% of people in the UK agree that creativity is key to driving economic growth.

The aims of this module were to understand:

  • Factors and processes that affect creativity
  • The role of play in relation to creativity
  • The importance of your ‘State of Being’ to creativity
  • A range of tools to help support creativity

What is creativity?

My definition is, ‘The desire to discover, innovate and make.’

My tutors definition was, ‘The ability to come up with ideas or artefacts that are novel, valuable and substantive.’

New ideas (invention) + Value = Creativity

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Another thing we learnt is that, it is not wrong to copy other peoples ideas. Realistically, where would we be if it wasn’t for scientists, inventors and designers building off one another ideas.

Steve Jobs once said, “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

What stops creativity?

Tradition, control, overspecialisation, negativism, prejudice, fear of failure, impatience, uniformity, fear of ridicule, conceit, lack of funding, confusion, insecurity, jealousy, group pressure, laziness, apathy, lack of Commitment, lack of support, intolerance, tenseness, fear of change, toxic nostalgia.

Do stuff that is “Insanely Great”- Steve Jobs

What can limit your creativity?


How do you break out of these habits?


  • Meet different types of people
  • Observe people and things
  • Go to different places
  • Gain new (personal) experiences
  • Gain new skills
  • Try stuff out

State of being and its relation to creativity-

Your state of being can be defined as the emotional, mental and physiological condition of a person.

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Your emotional state can have a big impact on your creativity. In order to be highly creative you must have a positive emotion, as well as being engaged in the activity you are taken part in.

Passion and motivation is another big factor affecting creativity. This is driven by a sense of purpose. This links in with flow, where you must be fully immersed in an activity as well as paying close attention.

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In order to have this passion and motivation, you must have a balance of factors such as control, relaxation, arousal and flow. Professor Paul Dolan, from London School of Economics believes finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life is the key to well being.

The creativity process-

  • Preparation
  • Incubation
  • Illumination
  • Verification

Your environment can be an important factor. Spaces that stimulate the mind, allow collaboration and play are crucial for idea building.


Play and its relation to creativity-

‘Doing’ links to the concept of play. It implies taking action, exploring, experimenting and prototyping. Again our concept of doing also brings in the importance of being aware of our ‘state of being’ while doing. It also links to collaboration and reflection.

Play gives people permission to explore ideas in a non-linear manner including the exploration of ideas that might seem totally unrelated to the challenge at hand. It also creates the opportunity for making unusual connections and therefore enables new insights to emerge.

Aspects of play-

  • Freedom of choice
  • Joy
  • Spontaneity
  • Absence of consequences
  • Removing constraint

Types of play-

  • Body play
  • Object play (using your hands)
  • Curiosity and exploration
  • Social play
  • Rough and tumble play
  • Imaginative play




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