Game On – Fun at Work on World IP Day

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The World IP Day is celebrated each year on 26th April, a wonderful occasion to celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation and unleash the true power of intangible assets that are driving today’s economy and society.

I Know What I Did Last Summer

While there are exciting plans for this year’s celebrations, here is a re-cap of what our firm did last year. Our team got together (literally at the last minute) and thought of having some fun on the occasion, because that’s the essence of a celebration; isn’t it?

We managed to create a game called ‘IPMAN’ overnight, despite all odds. As I reflect on what transpired exactly one year ago, here are some lessons that I thought are worth sharing from our experience:

Child is Father of Man

Since the day marks the celebration of IP, it would be most appropriate to start with credits relating to intellectual property! My son, Tanish, and I had programmed a game based on the concept of the popular game ‘Mastermind’ quite some time back. I had later tweaked the program and converted it to a general purpose version of Hangman.

I had no prior experience of programming games and my only experience in coding came from almost 25 years earlier when I dabbled with BASIC. The manner in which Tanish picked up QBASIC and the ideas that he started throwing at me, opened blocked neural pathways for me, as I discovered the joy of designing and programming games.

With little effort, I customized the Mastermind program to a general purpose version of Hangman and that was customized to the IP-specific game that we created for World IP Day.

Sometimes, it’s just child’s play

Connect the Dots

Steve Jobs has already made this phrase so famous, that it needs no further explanation. From programming to Mastermind to Hangman to IPMAN, the dots kept connecting. However, we did not have time to create characters and mascots for the game. So we borrowed Mr. IP, from the IP Comic book ‘Adventures of Mr. IP’ that was prepared by the firm’s practitioners a few years ago.

One of my biggest take-aways from the lessons learnt out of connecting dots time and again is to value and pro-actively seek diverse set of experiences.

You never know what you can become or what you can create!

Gamification goes a long way

There probably is a deeper and subliminal reason for the increasing popularity of the discipline of gamification in the last decade. We all have pleasant childhood memories of playing games and a similar experience at workplace probably activates the right parts of the brain.

In case the concept of gamifying experiences catches your fancy, do check out Kevin Werbach’s excellent MOOC on gamification available at Coursera – it just started this week!

Gamification is serious business – learn all about it!

If you enjoy doing what you do, why call it work

Talking about workplace, I have read a lot of BS on work-life balance. The discourse seems to be predicated on the assumption that work is evil and to be avoided and ‘life’ is great and to be embraced.

Why can’t we start enjoying what we do (also known as ‘work’), so that we can just call it ‘life’ and have fun!

Work – Life Balance : An Anachronism in the era of Fun at Work

Efficiency is a by-product of fun

Alright, I can almost see the smirk on your face – we got deliverables and cant just be having ‘fun’. What about targets and Quarterly Results?

Take a chill pill. Making ‘work’ fun is a sure shot way to incorporate team building exercises in a very natural manner and also enhances efficiency. The explanation is highly chemical!

Games cause an adrenaline rush and things start happening quickly. In the heightened state of excitement, unprecedented levels of efficiency can be achieved. Once a fun environment gets you the momentum you need, it can very easily be transferred to other initiatives at the workplace.

All you need to get started is a spring in the step!

Theory of Relativity in the Project context

Ok, it appears I promised Chemistry and veered into Physics, instead. So let’s continue the momentum and switch to the Theory of Relativity!

Time is relative, and so are project timelines! Since we had less than a day’s time, everything came together. We created the game overnight, including customizing the code, the databank, the user interface and the graphics.

We can challenge the typical timelines for executing projects in a lot of other contexts. One example that comes to mind is how all ATMs of all banks across the country were re-configured multiple times at hours’ notice, as part of the demonetization drive. Similar co-ordination and execution under other circumstances would have taken far longer!

Timelines are relative – re-imagine them in a different context

It’s a Team Sport

On that note, enjoy World IP Day, have fun with your creative endeavors and keep experimenting and innovating! In case you have similar (or not so similar) experiences, please do share.

Fun and games are a team sport!

If you enjoyed reading, here is more about other initiatives that made up the Sweet Seventeen Welcome for 2018!

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