In the famous ABC news program featuring IDEO, the top notch product design firm, we hear about how it's a very playful place to work. One of the founders talks about how being playful is key to being creative. The company designs a great deal of toys, and it keeps lots of toys and games around the office. Play and work come together all the time at IDEO.
Now, we hear about some science that backs up the notion that being playful may indeed spur creativity and innovation. In the Boston Sunday Globe's Uncommon Knowledge section, we read about a study done by two psychologists (D. Zabelina and M. Robinson). These scholars found that they could induce more creativity on the part of college students if they encouraged them to think like a seven year old. The lesson for firms who want to be innovative: Perhaps one can spur creativity by creating environments that make people think, feel, and act less like stiff, proper adults and more like imaginative, playful children.