Why play is important in creativity


Why play is important in creativity. Despite being a millennium-old pastime and an innate urge, play has frequently been marginalised in modern times, particularly when viewed through a Western lens. Efficiency, outputs, and quantitative measures became crucial during societal transformations like the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s and the digital migration that began with the dot-com boom in the 1990s. As a recreational activity, play demands time and intention that are distinct from the results of work. Play is often discouraged from being pursued because of the belief that it will take time away from work and money. Play is not given priority when time is tight, despite the fact that making time for it can significantly improve ideation, creative thinking, and outputs connected to the workplace. Play has a significant influence on creativity, from generating original ideas to developing problem-solving abilities.

The best way to conceptualise playfulness is probably as a mode of thinking that welcomes and incorporates play into all aspects of life. Its foundations are curiosity, discovery, and imagination, just like play. Playfulness and seriousness can also be falsely classified as antonyms, despite the fact that play and labour are occasionally mistakenly seen as opposites. Playfulness is not a sign of inattention or lack of motivation to complete a task. Rather, it is a deliberate, process-focused way of thinking that can increase intrinsic drive.

The importance of creativity

Play ignites passion and guides us towards more profound, enduring meaning, creativity, and purpose. This kind of creativity transcends personal emotional satisfaction. It's frequently defined as the capacity to come up with original, pertinent answers to issues. Moreover, creativity promotes flexibility, adaptation, and inventiveness when faced with obstacles, helping with resource acquisition, conflict avoidance, and survival. Creativity is the foundation of originality; creativity is coming up with new and practical ideas, and originality is supporting these outlandish thoughts, enhancing current frameworks, and making them a reality. When seen in this light, creativity is a very advantageous quality for people, groups, and even companies.

The Simulation of Imagination

Play is creative by nature. Play, whether it be role-playing, block-building, or storytelling, promotes the investigation of various situations and viewpoints. Play has a universally recognised educational value, and incorporating play into work as a necessary component and as a form of pleasure promotes achievement. People experience disengagement firsthand when they quickly settle for mediocre choices, become apathetic, and emotionally distance themselves from their coworkers and their jobs. But when these individuals and groups participate through role-playing, construction, simulations, hands-on games, and prototyping, the whole dynamic changes. There's a renewed focus on coming up with lots of ideas and investigating possibilities.

Playfulness as a personality trait

Playfulness can foster creativity and expose the mind to new possibilities when it is used with the intention of investigating concepts from many angles. People that are playful frequently have creative and adaptable viewpoints, which help them come up with fresh answers to difficult problems. Additionally, they frequently exhibit better observational abilities, the capacity to view concepts from several perspectives, and the ability to change or reframe events to make them more enjoyable or less stressful. When seen in this light, playfulness is not a sign of insincerity but rather a quality of the personality that gives teams a tactical edge by bringing humour, stimulating creativity, and offering distinctive viewpoints on difficult issues—all while having fun.

Fostering Collaboration and Communication

Play frequently entails social engagement, whether it be through cooperative games, team sports, or group projects. When group collaboration and communication are based on a common activity, like play, they generate mutual energy. Above all, humour and hilarity surface. Play is a protective emotional barrier against stress and anxiety and has a favourable effect on mental health. Play increases happiness on a psychological and physiological level. This is important to take into account in professional settings where there is frequently a lot of tension. Collaborating on creative projects calls for effective idea sharing and teamwork, which can be improved by engaging in playful activities.

Reducing Stress and Boosting Mood

There's a conflict between stress and creativity. Emotions like joy, vigour, and excitement are evoked by play. As was said in the section on extending creativity, these emotional outputs frequently result in noteworthy long-term advantages. Playfulness emerges as a quality or way of being in this emotional component. Play naturally reduces stress and fosters relaxation and happiness.

Integrating play into work

Play is a vital kind of recreation, as demonstrated by some modern companies, most notably Google, where fun architectural design is a feature. The wallpaper at the Google office in Toronto is made of Morse code, which is an entertaining method to use the brain. Play can emerge from the activities themselves or by offering places to take a break from work-related duties, which may lead to fresh dialogues, insights, or relationships. By going a step further and incorporating play within the work itself, play is positioned as an essential component of the work, blurring the lines between work and play. Google maintains a culture that encourages play and innovation by evaluating candidates based on their playfulness. Google has created a culture where playfulness and creativity are valued by all members of the organisation by purposefully assembling teams that value play. Teams must determine which components of their workflow are efficient and which are not. It's crucial to review procedures and practices objectively in order to determine the effects of play-based behaviours, both positive and negative. Organisational executives ought to witness tangible and quantifiable advantages from this approach, be it enhanced morale and communication or monetary gains resulting from the extremely inventive solutions these teams provide.

Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation

Play is motivated by intrinsic motivation, which is not from outside rewards but rather from the pleasure and fulfilment of the activity itself. It is not unexpected that a lot of individuals view recreation and work as mutually exclusive. Given the generally unfavourable perception of "work," it is understandable why play has been restricted to our breaks from it. Although leisure time play can provide a break from our workdays, it's critical to refute the idea that play and labour are at diametrically opposed ends of the activity spectrum. Expanding our definition and comprehension of play allows us to perceive the intersection of work and play, realising that meaningful and purposeful moments happen when we use play as a vehicle for creativity and intention.


There are several advantages to using play as an intervention to spark and maintain creative flow, including improved mental health, learning, creativity, and social bonding. We find our spark via play, and when we allow play to flow into our teams, we cultivate a culture that enhances cooperation and harmony. When work processes are optimised to meet predetermined goals or generate profits, integrating play—even through creative ideation, concept prototyping, or design experiments—may not seem practical. Not because play has disappeared over time, but for many people, play and the creativity it evoked in them as children no longer have the same resonance as they have when it comes to how they regard their careers.

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