June 06, 2006
Creating Joy and Meaning, Together


Robin Hunicke is philosophical about being a Lead Designer at EA:

The Buddha concludes that in order for people to truly realize harmony in a group, they must follow some simple rules:

  • Sharing a common space
  • Sharing a daily routine that is essential to their survival
  • Practicing, together
  • Sharing insights that come from that practice
  • Respecting others’ viewpoints, and not forcing them to follow your own viewpoint.

In making something together, for which we are all paid, all the members of my team share responsiblities, dreams and insights. But if they cannot be considerate of how each experiences this process, and respectful of their views about how it might work - well, progress is much slower.

Courtesy is also important. It is easy to forget how small, simple actions (like offering someone something to drink, making a place for them at a meeting table, or simply welcoming them into a room) will create harmony. It is easy to forget that these little things make everyone feel respected - creating an environment where different viewpoints are free to co-exist.

Similarly, it is easy to rush from decision to decision, idea to idea, observation to observation – without making room for that mingling that’s so necessary for innovation. Especially when there is time pressure related to the completion of your goals, or competition for recognition within or outside of the group. One can lose sight of the practice (working together to make something great) and get lost in naval gazing, blaming, and shaming.

The very structure of commercial creation can lead us to forego thoughtfulness - which in turn, leads to indifference. An indifferent team cannot create a joyful or meaningful product or experience… for themselves, or anyone else.

Posted by jjwiseman at June 06, 2006 01:14 PM

And I thought it was a post about the Joy programming language. :)

Posted by: Slava Pestov on June 6, 2006 03:32 PM

Hmmmm. The same EA that was coming under fire for
pushing workers into 80 hr work weeks

That aside, the quote above is full of wisdom.

Posted by: Kevin Layer on June 6, 2006 03:43 PM

This is great. It's exactly what's been missing at my last two jobs. This is the difference between a team that scrapes to meet expectations and one that way exceeds expectations.

Posted by: Chris B. on June 7, 2006 09:06 AM

John, great post. Thanks for bringing it to more people's attention.

Posted by: Gary King on June 8, 2006 04:04 AM
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