Fun in Business?

I have a indomitable spirit of Fun (ask my kids who I tend to embarrass & my friends who usually love it) & will always try to encourage that spirit in whatever I do. These days its easier to find Fun in business, well even online games are being included in ordinary day to day activities.  I have a habit of making sure that staff are entertained with a good laugh when things seem pretty serious or intense.  The relaxation & sometimes relief that occurs can often promote new ideas or just a different attitude towards the day’s challenges.  Having Irish genes I am also not afraid of making fun of myself to promote that laugh.  In other words I don’t take myself too seriously even when there are major challenges.  One of the best things for me about living & running a business in Ireland is that everyone has a sense of humor & having a laugh & fun (‘some craic’) is very much valued. I found a post in 37Signal‘s Signal vs Noise about fun & work:

You don’t have to work hard to work well. You don’t need sinister eyebrows or only 4-hour sleeps or a booked calendar to be serious. But somehow that image sticks so bad that we tend to view fun as the opposite of Serious Business Stuff(TM).

37 Signals

There was a great post on CloudAve by Hutch Carpenter ‘Reputation and Game Mechanics Are the Future of Social Software’ where he talks about social software & games:

The reason it’s provocative is that business is serious…business. And that goes for social software as well. Anything that smacks of addressing intrinsic human behaviors and motivations is suspicious on arrival for some. Just make my job efficient so I can get home.

What’s emerging on the social landscape is the notion of making contributions and sharing part of a richer, more engaging experience.

News flash! Turns out people like lighthearted competition, status, recognition and earning awards. Integrating these as a part of the experience, not as the entire experience, is a powerful basis for increasing people’s awareness and interest in a particular activity.

Hutch Carpenter

There are of course naysayers who look at the changing business landscape through different eyes, such as in this Guardian article, Facebook and Bebo risk ‘infantilising’ the human mind: Greenfield warns social networking sites are changing children’s brains, resulting in selfish and attention deficient young people.

Arguing that social network sites are putting attention span in jeopardy, she said: “If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviors and call them attention-deficit disorder.

“It might be helpful to investigate whether the near total submersion of our culture in screen technologies over the last decade might in some way be linked to the threefold increase over this period in prescriptions for methylphenidate, the drug prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.”


However AmyJo of Shufflebrain counters this in a post Are Social Networks Changing Our Brains?

As a parent – and former Neuroscientist – I embrace new technology knowing full well that it will shape our brains. How could it not? We’re born to adapt — and our technologies are an increasingly big part of our environment. Rather than bemoaning this inevitable fact, I think it’s more forward-thinking and practical to embrace our brain plasticity, and learn how to use the technologies in a healthy, life-enhancing way.


I’m already sold on the innovations that are springing up in business but of course everyone has their take on it.  The other issue that needs to be considered is that there is no stopping the changes now, so if you object then good to work out a positive integration plan. 

Here’s a video that is most disturbing – fun/games gone to the extreme in the future?

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