Lessons from the Playground


Playground pic


A social experiment was conducted years ago. The lessons demonstrate the value of constraints in thinking creatively.

Two groups of children were studied. This first group was directed to a playground without a fence. The second group directed to a playground enclosed by a fence.

Researchers discovered that children in the first group (without the fence), explored less territory of the playground area than those in the second group (with the fence).

This presents an interesting concept for us “adults,” and another way to view the constraints that we are given- by our employer, our industry, our society, and so on.

Without constraint, we are tempted to keep too closely to our comfort zone. Leaning on what we know. It’s more difficult to push our own thinking, because we don’t know where and when it becomes too risky. Constraints such as budget, time, competition, etc. can actually provide a construct for thinking more creatively.

Another way to think about it is through the lens of a successful startup. They start their business, then at some point the organization is challenged and goes through a time of adversity (funding, scale, changing industry, consumer trends, etc.). These constraints create an environment in which the team is forced to think differently. They are forced to push the boundaries, but to also respect them for what they are. Those who are bold enough to put in the effort win the battle.


Will Krieger