Confined creativity

It’s great being six again. Having grandchildren has opened up whole new dimensions in my life. I get the chance now to play, released from the seriousness of adulthood, with people who don’t judge my actions and are only too happy to play along and enter into the game.

Duplo, has been a particular favourite of mine. Every opportunity I get, out come the bricks. There is a loud rush as they fall from their box onto the floor and heads come together in mutual and unfettered play. I love making things and my family often questions whether the Duplo is for me or my grandchildren. 

Playing has made me think about creativity and I have been listening, thanks to the children’s mother, to designer Tim Brown’s TED talk. Originally delivered at the 2008 Serious Play conference, he talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play.

The talk made me realize that while I was being creative, I would only make things that existed. I have made dogs, birds, garages, robots, a playpark, a skateboard, giant towers and even made a good stab at the Mars Perseverance. Well, I thought it was good, only time will tell.

I have never made something that doesn’t exist. I have never let my imagination fly and build my own creation. I have never acted like the god of Duplo and let my fingers wander through the coloured plastic pieces, unhampered and unimpeded by my one experience. My creativity has been confined by the pre-existing.

I need to let go. I need to clear my mind of preconceived notions of reality. I need to imagine parallel universes where strange creatures wander and novel machines operate, producing innovative and exciting products. My grandchildren don’t care. Whatever I make is part of the game. The blocks can be put together in any way you can. Like the young, the bricks know no rules. They are free to be whatever they want.

All they need is someone creative to put them together. Someone free from confinement. That could be me.

You can find Tim Brown’s talk here.

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