This talk is about the science of play and why it’s good to have play at work from a developer’s perspective. The state of play is a distinct mental state. Some of the effects of this play state is higher intelligence, more creativity, and more risk aversity. The problem with trying to push for having play at work, or “playful work” is that there is a stigma attached to the word play when it comes to the workplace. Work is supposed to be hard, and not fun. Play is seen as useless or not productive.

However if we look in the animal kingdom for example, play is how animals learn essential survival skills. Also, when in the play state, time tends to fly, the task seems to “flow”, and you are not easily distracted. One can see how inducing the play state for a work related task is a beneficial thing.

Here are some ways we can encourage play during work:

  • Sharing – by sharing and having other people look at your work you could get new ideas and insights
  • Break stuff – this is contrary to how we’ve been taught to think. We are told to make stuff work, but by breaking things down we might be able to reassemble them in new and different ways – much like Legos.
  • Experiment & Explore

For more info: go to http://hci.standford.edu/research

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