Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


While play is a universal experience that transcends age, discipline, and location, it is often understood to be a juvenile experience and is not intentionally pursued into adulthood. However, play has positive benefits for people of all ages; it can drive intrinsic motivation, increase creativity, and build a sense of meaning and purpose in both individuals and teams. Building on existing understandings of play and creativity, this Synthesis develops a transdisciplinary Play-Flow Intervention Model that leverages play as an intervention at two critical points during the flow cycle to alleviate struggle and expedite movement towards flow. Integrating play during periods of creative struggle can shorten this phase; play during flow states can extend awareness and creative output. With deliberate practice over time, individuals can foster a mindset or orientation towards play and build playfulness.

Play may not be appropriate or applicable across all contexts, particularly in certain work environments, but systems can be designed to promote play. Addressing both design as well as systems change is critical for those seeking to leverage the inherent benefits of play, which span emotional, physiological, and intellectual realms. The invitation to embrace playfulness across all aspects of life is offered as an opportunity to reimagine how play might shift our relationships with our work, free time, and the communities in which we live.