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Before you keep reading, please first check out this Ted Talk by Tim Brown!

It’s not new, but it serves as a fabulous reminder to keep playfulness top of mind when we are doing brainstorming and creative problem solving.

Brown suggests that the variation in responses between children and adults is evidence that we fear judgment by our peers in adulthood. We may have a wild (and perhaps even genius) idea floating around in our head, but we’re afraid to share it with those around us due to our fear of judgment. And this fear is what causes adults to become conservative in our thinking. As children grow older, they become more sensitive to the opinions of others, and the freedom to be playful and creative is replaced with self-consciousness and fear of embarrassment.

Playfulness … approaching situations in an exploratory manner … allows us to see the lighter side of a challenge … to view it with a sense of humour, and it enables flexible thinking.

But life can’t be all play, all the time. Even for kids, there are unwritten, agreed-upon rules about when, where and how to play. Brown concludes with a hypothesis that in creative work we go through two modes:

  1.  Generative mode – play, idea marinating, inspiration seeking and,
  2. DO mode – coming back together to look for and create the solution.

This is divergence and convergence in its true form! For the BEST creative thinking, it’s not an either/or thing.

It has to be an AND!

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