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My thesis

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My Executive MA thesis was finally completed and submitted last week. I still feel mentally exhausted and limp. I could not even be bothered to comb my hair. But I had fun writing and research it. It’s titled “Desktop playground: Transitional objects at play for everyday creativity in the workplace.”

I interviewed executives about how they interacted with non-work-related objects on their work desks to investigate how they could be transitional objects and stimulate everyday creativity. This came from my experience of using  my Snuffles bears as transitional objects to rediscover creativity in the last few years. I think we should play more. I think playing is healthy. I think executives need to play and stop taking work so seriously. In fact, playing would help them think.

Now that I have handed in my thesis, then I wait for graduation, then umm… not sure where to go from here. Due to depression I have stopped working for almost 4 years. How do I reemerge? Where do I go from here?

It was good fun doing the thesis, but now I am at a loss and don’t know what the next step is. I feel intense trepidation. I don’t really know where or how to start, and what to make of Bearapy? Where do I look for projects. I am scared. I do not know where to put my foot next.

In case you are interested, here is the abstract to my thesis:

Recognition of the merits of play in encouraging creativity is not new. Nor is workplace design to stimulate creativity a novel concept. However, academic research has overlooked individuals’ immediate workspaces – the desks. Few studies have looked at how executives personalized their desks with objects. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, has long delved into the meaning of objects; Donald Winnicott theorized that playing with transitional objects inspires creativity. Yet, his theories have been confined to applications on children or therapeutic treatment for adults.
This study connects the dots to investigate the role of non-work-related objects in the workplace, and how interacting with these objects impacts workplace creativity. Findings, interpreted through thematic analysis and complemented by photo-documentation, confirmed that executives were emotionally attached to their desktop objects, and that objects were used for fun and thinking. Through semi-structured interviews, this study submits that executives’ interaction with objects constituted play, through which everyday creativity is stimulated – desktop objects became transitional objects. A breakthrough finding was that desktop objects pointed to corporate culture, and whether executives felt a sense of belonging towards their organizations. Practical suggestions are proposed to executives, HR, organizations, and consultants, on how personalizing workspaces with desktop objects could boost everyday creativity, dissect corporate culture, and promote team cohesiveness.

In case you are still interested, happy to send you a copy of my thesis for your bedtime reading. Just email me.

What should I do next? And when can I catch up with my blog, the ebook, the big book project, and revamping the Bearapy website? It’s taken a looooooong time to even get the ebook launched (please do bear with me), so let alone the big book project with agents and all that.

Feeling disoriented and empty. Another day. Another void.

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3 Responses

  1. […] the midst of my baby’s arrival, the sense of urgency to go back to work became frenzied with reinforced impatience. I did not have energy to sit and contemplate. I miss my alone time. I miss the time when I could […]

  2. […] I told myself it was an “action-research project” to continue researching my thesis topic of playfulness and transitional objects in developing corporate […]

  3. […] splashing water onto innocent onlookers. But last week, after I felt a trickle of energy from the post-thesis hiatus, I wanted to update my blog and shake things up a bit. Suffice to say, I have neglected this space […]

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) is born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Play Consultant for corporates interested in creative change management and employee well-being using the psychology of playfulness.