Thinkbox sparks creativity by embracing novel methods of generating and developing ideas through playful experiences. As part of my fourth-year thesis project at York/Sheridan, I embarked on a journey to explore the boundless connection between children's play and creative thinking. The outcome of my research offers creatives with innovative tools and strategies to unlock new dimensions of creativity.

Recognition: RGD — Tam+Kitt Award of Excellence for the GTA, Applied Arts Student Awards 2014, Adobe Achievement Awards 2014 Semifinalist
Concept work, Research, Design
— Background

Children's play is a natural catalyst for cognitive development, nurturing curiosity and imagination. In contrast, adults struggle to tap into their creative potential due to logic-based behaviour and reduced impulsivity.



The essence of my research rested on a fundamental question: Can we harness the magic of child's play to fuel adult creativity and problem-solving?

My research focused on three key areas:

  1. Understand the role of play in child development.
  2. Identify pain points in the creative process of adult creatives, including designers, artists, and architects.
  3. Explore ways to enhance creative thinking and problem-solving through play.
Embracing a playful mindset can elevate creativity and lead to more effective problem-solving.


I conducted a survey to gain valuable insights, with 60 individuals from creative fields participating. The survey results unveiled intriguing patterns and helped shape the project's direction.

Source: Elements of Play - The Strong,CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Are elements of play and elements of creativity closely related?

When we play, six essential play elements emerge: anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength and poise. The more we play, the more intense the elements are displayed.



  1. Understanding pain points — Through the survey, I identified three common pain points: lack of creativity/originality, frequent creative blocks, and ineffective problem-solving.
  2. Tackling pain points through play — By exploring different types of play, I discovered how they could address these creative hurdles head-on.
  3. The birth of Thinkbox — Putting insights into action, I crafted the Thinkbox kit - a comprehensive solution to reignite the spark of creativity and transform the creative process.
— Final product

Thinkbox emerged as a testament to the power of play in fostering originality, breaking creative barriers, and unlocking innovation. The creative process becomes an enchanting adventure, and every challenge becomes an opportunity to play, discover, and innovate.

Tiffany Chan — Designer
Email / LinkedIn
© Tiffany Chan 2023