Collective flow

Dave Rupert, Play at work:

I’ve talked about this before in the context of prototyping and play and how we worked at Paravel. It’s a lot like playing baseball; each member of the team showing up to practice, volleying work (in screenshots, short videos, or demos), pushing changes, communicating thoughts and challenges in the moment outside the confines of slotted meeting times. Me and my coworkers, having a catch.

Several years ago, when I was doing improv, I was rehearsing for a musical, of all things. At the same time we were getting started with table reads and gel’ing as a cast, two other shows were rehearsing in the same theater. One show was about to open, very much having their thing dialed in. Another cast was somewhere in the middle, having figured out what they were about but still trying to get the execution just right. Everywhere in the theatre, there was creation and exploration energy and it was one of the most awesome things I’ve done. This despite not liking musical theater much!

I don’t like the idea of “return to office” and I don’t think you could make it work anyway. The social momentum that kept a critical mass of people in one office has been broken, you can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube.

That said, I have yet to feel that same energy in remote work that I did in a local theatre on rehearsal night while various groups were making something together, in the moment, and iterating on it as quickly as they could share a glance or read through a scene.

I bet some teams have figured out how to feel this way in remote/async setups. But, it feels like most are still running the old in-person playbook that we learned, and sometimes thrived with, over the past years and decades of our careers.

Adam Keys @therealadam