It was the best part of your day.
The bell would ring and you would fly out of your seat to run straight to the playground with the rest of your classmates. In school, recess was a blast. It was a time when it was OK (and expected) for you to go outside to play and use your imagination. You could be the next great basketball star, an Olympic gymnast on the monkey bars or the next great detective during a game of hide and seek.
Yes - recess was fun. But, it was also important. Sure, it was time spent away from classroom learning but it was time spent learning how to be creative while building relationships with your classmates. Most importantly, it was a time to do anything you wanted to do with the only limit being the collective limit of the imagination of you and your friends.
What happened to recess as we grew up? If you substitute coworkers for classmates in the paragraphs above don’t the principals of recess still apply? You may not have tetherball in your office, but there are plenty of places to get away, take a break and let your imaginations run wild. Recess at work is time spent away from your required duties and time spent dreaming up the next big thing.
What do you think? Is there a place for recess in the business world? What do you do to take a break and encourage creativity in the office?
I miss Google 411, I really do. It was super easy to use, it got me connected with the business I was inquiring about in just a few seconds and didn’t burden me with unnecessary options. As luck would have it, the same day I was out running errands and wanted to call my favorite Chinese place in town for take out is the same day Google shut down their service.
Having heard of Microsoft’s free 411 service (1-800-Bing-411) I decided to give it a shot. The service itself worked fine, but was so much more complicated than it needed to be. This really got me thinking about software development and user experience. Getting the user what they are after in as few actions as possible is something that every application should strive for, yet I see time and again that so many simple workflows are blogged down with an overly complicated workflow.
Lets take a look at the differences in the user experience using these two free 411 services for the simple use case of wanting to look up and call a business
Stop what your doing.
Take a moment and look and whats on your desk. What do you see? Do you find that the majority of the items are things you care about? Or, do you find that they are items that serve a functional purpose?
Many of us would perform this exercise and find that we are surrounded by functional items. We have scanners, baskets organized by topics, files and a collection of notebooks. Our desks may look chaotic, but everything on them serves a function that helps to make us more efficient.
Its fine to have functional things (I have a PDF scanner at my desk that I couldn’t live without) but since the desk is where most of us spend the largest chunk of our day shouldn’t we also try to surround ourselves with things that we’d actually care to save in the event of a fire? What if we took the time to surround ourselves with items that exist only because we enjoy them. Would this make us happier? Would this increase productivity?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Think you can’t learn anything from a game?
If you own an iPhone and enjoy simulation games, you may have already discovered Game Dev Story. The premise is simple; Your given a small office and a tiny budget to start a game development studio. If you find success and profitability, you can grow your staff and expand your office as you work towards total market domination.
This game is a lot of fun and highly addictive. After playing it for a while, I am seeing that some of the same principals that make for a successful company in the game can be applied to a real life.
Lets take a look at 5 business rules that can be learned from Game Dev Story: