Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO, has presented a terrific TED Talk on the topic of creativity and play. He opens his presentation with an exercise from Bob McKim, creativity researcher and leader of the Stanford Design Program. Tim asks his audience to pick up their pen and paper and sketch the person sitting next to them. There are giggles from the audience before they even start to draw.
When he tells them to put their paper down after thirty seconds, the audience reacts just as we would expect. They laugh. They are embarrassed. And they apologize for themselves! Every time he’s had an audience perform that exercise they reacted the same way.
As adults many of us fear the judgement of our peers. When I did my Go Play Project in 2012, the most common comment I heard from friends was “I could never do anything like that.”
My goal was to learn and perform as many pieces in one year as I could. Once I got over the fear of posting these recordings “in the raw” I became more adventurous in my choice of repertoire. I learned new pieces quickly, sometimes only hours before turning on the recorder.
But, surprisingly, the real benefit of that Project, was finally finding the courage to step away from the piano bench and explore avenues of creativity – writing and drawing.
Tim talks about how many businesses are beginning to realize the importance of play, trust, and friendship in the workplace. A sense of trust and relaxation in the workplace encourages the employees to think creatively without fear of judgement.
Let’s use our Go Play Projects to create fearlessly and find out what happens when that creativity spills out into other areas of our lives. I’d love to hear from you about your next Go Play Project!