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The Toy Story: How to Play at Work
By TechUniverse
OK. Admit it. You still like to play with toys. High-tech companies such as Google and Microsoft have encouraged playful creativity by turning their workplaces into virtual playgrounds where employees are encouraged to take play breaks. The legacy of the dot-com boom era includes foosball tables, ping-pong tables, X-box stations where employees can engage in multiplayer gaming via networks, Wii stations, and even roller hockey leagues in the parking lot. “Many of our most creative ideas come when we are playfully engaged in creating, exploring, experimenting,” says Mitchel Resnick, professor of learning research at the MIT Media Lab. “So it’s important for workplaces to encourage playfulness -- that is, encourage people to try new things, test boundaries, take risks and explore new ideas.” Toys take off Long before Google became a household name, its founders tapped into their love of toys to create low-cost cases to house the hard disk storage at the heart of its search engines. Sergey Brin and Larry Page built the storage cases out of simple plastic interlocking Legos. Now randomly interspersed Lego stations invite creative play at Google offices. Some employees even banded together to purchase Silly Putty in bulk. These group play stations and playful attitudes have inspired us to take things further, personalizing our cubicles with greater levels of sophistication. Common Star Wars action figures and basketball hoops are being overshadowed by higher-tech toys, such as stealth helicopters and fighting robots. Web sites such as Engadget, Gizmodo, and Boing Boing report on new gadgets and toy trends. Other sites, like ThinkGeek and Kleargear, have become online sources of these gadgets. What’s hot in cubicle play Read More

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