Monday, April 30, 2012

TED Talks: Creativity and Play

Discipline: Design
iTunes U Course: Reimagine the Designer
Lecture (iTunes): Tim Brown on creativity and play


Notes and Reflection:
This is the 2nd presentation that I watched as part of my ongoing self-education program, file this one under the heading of Design.

Mr Brown starts by taking the audience through a simple exercise, drawn the person next to you in 30 seconds. His point is that many adults apologies for the bad drawings of their neighbor whereas children would be quite proud of their art. This test was based oh the research of a man named Bob McKimm, McKimm says that this is because we fear the judgement of others, this fear holds us back.

Many design firms try to create an environment that encourages people to play and to take risks. Friendship is a shortcut to play and this allows us to take creative risks. Things like dinosaurs and slides at the Googleplex, grass huts and caves at Disney Pixar, etc. Tim brown then has the crowd shoot finger blasters at him from the crowd to make an example of this type of play (hilarious).

Playfulness helps us get to more creative solutions, helps us work better and makes work fun.

Kids are more involved with open possibilities, this type of thinking is needed in design today. He then cites the example of kids playing with the box at Christmas and not the toy. This is because a box offers infinite possibilities, whereas the toy only offers one.

His next audience exercise is to have everyone make something out of 30 circles on a piece of paper. He is more interested in quantity of solutions as opposed to quality. He cites that few people draw the Same thing in all of the circles, or variations of the same theme. This is because as adults we edit ourselves and create artificial rules such as "being original".

It is hard to break out adult habits. You get better brainstorming when you post the rules of brainstorming.

The average child spends as much as 50% of their time building. We can use is type of play through prototyping. Tim Brown shows off some great ideas that emerged from this type of play. However this is lacking from most workplaces today. Prototypes, even very simple ones, allow us to test and get rapid feedback.

What about designing something that is not physical? This can be done through role playing. Acting and acting workshops and very beneficial. However the adult nature of us dispels this, again we look to children to understand what happens. At times designers put themselves though an experience. Could be flying in an airplane or being a patient in a hospital.

Playful exploration, playful building and role play are some of the ways designers can us Elay in their work.

1. Play is not anarchy, there are some rules, even in child's play
2. There are rules about when to play, transition is necessary.
3. We need trust to play, and there needs to be trust to be creative