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Creativity and the importance of playfulness
Having fun helps design creative solutions
Play. It’s one of the core characteristics of Snook’s culture, and one we try to encourage when working, both internally and with our clients. At Snook we tackle serious issues with a sunny disposition. We believe that this attitude leads to innovative and creative solutions.
Here’s our thinking on why play, work, and creativity go hand in hand.
More laughter = more productivity
Work is not often associated with fun, or a place of laughter – but it should be. According to Robert Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland: “Laughter is the quintessential human social signal. Laughter is about relationships.”
But why is this, and why is it important at work? Simply put, laughter creates better communication, fosters empathy and increases cooperation between colleagues. It’s a fundamental human communication tool that can create stronger connections between workers.
At Snook we are huge fans of funny GIFs. We regularly invest time creating custom emojis for each other and are proud of our honorary ‘bants of the month award’. We take stock and laugh out loud at (and with) the colleague who brings the most banter each month. We see laughter as a valuable part of company culture and time.
Older and wiser?
As we get older, we can often become more reserved when it comes to playfulness. Why is this? Is it because we can’t be “bothered” with the frivolity of play? Or maybe we just don’t have the time. But we should make the time. As Bernard Shaw puts it, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
When workshopping with clients we like to bring along our handy box of tricks. This includes building blocks, craft supplies, and play-doh. At first there can be some resistance to this as professionals wonder why their corporate boardroom is becoming filled with toys. However, as this resistance fades, it turns to playful interaction, prototyping, and collaboration.
Workshopping with toys, making with unusual materials, and stepping away from computer screens allows participants to think outside of the box. This act of play can alleviate stress, creating a non-competitive and productive atmosphere – the perfect storm for generating new ideas and initiating creative conversations.
Answers come to those who play
Laughter and playfulness are creative fuel for your brain.
Being able to experiment at work frees us from stress and anxiety, two things that are fundamental drains of creativity. Think about the last time you faced an issue at work? How did you tackle it? How did you relieve stress and anxiety, and what tips would you share?
Imagine what would happen if you laughed about it! What if you were given time to play with the possibilities of the outcome?
This thought process creates an atmosphere that is free from a fear of being criticised or judged. When given the space to think of creative and innovative solutions you can get excited with the possibilities of play.