Amplifying the Blogosphere (v2021-06-27)

Not Much But Figured I'd Write Something

Innovation at the Office

You hear the same argument in support of open offices: people need to be close so that a magical collaboration can occur.

The problem is that it’s almost certainly not true. Researchers who study the question say that they can find no evidence of this phenomenon and that it’s more of a fairy tale than reality. There is, to the contrary, evidence that all that close proximity actually results in less collaboration and innovation. The reason for that will be obvious to anyone who’s had to suffer in an open office: when you hear constant chattering and nattering, you put on your headphones and disengage with those around you. There are other problems as well.

I’ve worked in open office spaces, had my own office with a door and walls, and had a cubicle with high walls. And in my experience, open offices do not foster collaboration and innovation. The aspirations are to facilitate free-wheeling conversations that lead to idea generation. But, ideas are cheap. Clarifying what the idea is trying to solve, then delving into the actual problem requires concentration and deliberate processes.

Look to the stages of problem solving and the language around open-office spaces. The goal is to blow past the Clarifying and Design steps, and favor Ideation then Implementation. Implementation is the most measurable component of knowledge work. But Clarifying and Design is about making sure you’re making the right thing.

And Open Office spaces don’t provide the space for reflection on the very question: Are we solving the right thing?. And that, I suspect, is why there’s a strong call back to the office. Capitalists and the higher ups may not want us introspecting all that much on the why and what we’re doing. Make it about the how, and hammer on that problem.

SWN psychics compared to WWN mages

I sometimes contemplate running a Worlds without Number (WWN 🔍) game where psychics exist besides mages, and for complex reasons I want more then the mind mages in the book; so how to the psychic class in Stars without Number: Revised Edition (SWN 🔍) compared to the mage class in WWN? Do people think they are relatively balanced, or is one underpowered/overpowered compared to the other?

I’m not concerned with balance in my games, but more about whether the characters have enough niche protection. And the mages in WWN don’t outshine the warriors nor experts. Likewise the psychics don’t outshine the warriors nor experts.

And they look to go down different paths. So I certainly think these are fully worth mixing for your campaign. I can see using WWN and SWN to run a Dark Sun 🔍 game—a world shattered by defiler magic, ruled by sorcerer dragonkings, with unique takes on traditional Dungeons and Dragons (D&D 🔍) humanoids, and a heavy layer of psionics.