“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” – Albert Einstein 

Play Activates Progress and Innovation!

I am a teacher- a teacher of play and creativity. 

It’s the most rewarding job, until it rubs up against any educational curriculum that’s mandated towards stagnant outcomes.

Toward checking off boxes of what constitutes “learned.”

A while back I was asked to guest teach a marketing class for a teacher that would be out for the day.  The office administrator and I could not find any notes or instructions as to what the teacher would like the students to accomplish for the class period.

Forging ahead I decide this would be a terrific opportunity for the students to engage in some creative innovative play.

Where they would have to think quickly on their feet and deliver new product and marketing strategies geared toward selling their unique concept on the open market.  

Observing their process for completing the assignment, I was taken back by how hard it was for these teens to allow themselves to creatively play in a way that challenged new innovation and ideas.  

Even after basic guidelines for the assignment were reviewed, they were reluctant to challenge the usual “let’s just get this assignment done,” attitude. 

The “buy-in” did not come until I walked around and became curious about each one of their ideas.  I encouraged them to also walk around, and to see what others were doing.

Before long play was ignited!

Creativity for some amazing products were born, and capitalized on, as each team of students presented their invention and got feedback from the room.

Inside of some work cultures

this scenario is played out on many levels.  Work becomes mundane and stagnant. 

Day in and day out, nothing gets challenged. No stimulation for innovation is sparked. Progress, if any, is slow and painful.

There is a better way through play.

As Albert Einstein remarked, “imagination is more important than knowledge.”

He was right by also stating ”‘imagination gives birth to evolution,” or what I would call progress and growth.  It is the number one reason we need to put “play” back into our day. 

Because without it there is no growth.

Without growth, we recede.  We become less, not more. We become aloof, indifferent to the world around us which is the source of our existence. 

Play keeps us alive and connected!

 Strategies For Tapping Into Your Play.

  1. Connect with nature first thing every morning by taking 15 minutes to sit outside, if you can, so that you can observe everything that is given to you freely without you even asking for it.  Sun. Air. Wind. Birds. All for you!  Appreciation allows you to see how playful and innovative nature is. 
  2. Language is a great prompt to spike creativity and play.  Asking questions or making statements that keep you open and ready for innovative ideas will expand your thinking with ease.  Using prompts like, “That’s interesting,” or “I’m curious…,” I wonder if…,,” are all words that spark the creative flow both in your own mind and those that you communicate with.  They also allow for inclusive and diverse thoughts to be born. 
  3. Challenging yourself to try something different can impact change and creativity in big bold ways.  Trying some new food, driving a different way to work, reading a book outside of your usual genre or reading a book if you are not an avid reader can all spark new insights and thoughts. Creative pivots in any area, no matter how big or small, can have a significant impact on other parts of your life. Creativity can be prompted by getting out of your norm through even the slightest change.  Change has the power to give birth to even bigger ideas that allows your playful mind to be more open and once that happens, anything is possible.

Closing Thoughts.

There are no arguments against the importance of knowledge and more applicable, applied knowledge.

Creative play, however, is a well that can be tapped into at any time and where the thirst for innovative ideas can be replenished.

Play coupled with knowledge can expand our thinking in a way that not only benefits us on a personal level but the world at large. 

It is our collective expansion through creativity that forges new frontiers and discoveries inside this unlimited universe that is primed and waiting for us to engage fully with it. 

Becoming playful and tapping into your creativity can be as easy as relishing each morning in the beauty of nature, in using keyword-prompts that evoke further thoughts or just by doing something a little different.

Play and innovation is available to everyone.  You do not have to be Einstein to use it or apply it.  You just have to be willing to play!

Life is supposed to be fun!

Written by BJ Davis – Director of Programs at BJD Leadership Training and Team Development. You can contact her directly at bjdavis@highperformanceplay.com or by visiting the website www.highperformanceplay.com