Posts tagged infographic
“Flow” is a state of immersive, effortless concentration.
How might we create currencies that help us live our lives in flow?
If you you have Spotify open, feel free to play this hand-selected track while you enjoy this post.
A few posts back, I posed the idea of lifestyle design currencies.
I’d like to zoom in on that a bit, and expand on one variable: flow.
This notion was first researched by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who was curious about expansive states reported by artists and scientists. While in flow we are more productive and creative, enjoying the moment as we give our full selves to the activity at hand.
I want more flow in my life!
How might we create currencies that help us live our lives in such a way that we are tapped into the flow throughout the day? Currencies are perfect tools, because they help us shape and enable flows of all sorts- flows of value, energy, material and information. Currencies are all about dynamic, coherent movement.
Before we start brainstorming Flow Currencies, let’s learn a bit more about the nature of the flow state.
I’ve designed this nifty poster for the basics:
You get the picture. You’ve probably experienced flow while dancing, playing music or doing yoga, but it is also possible to tap into a flow when you’re writing, brainstorming, coding, doing math, or cleaning the bathroom.
How Currencies Can Help.
1. Game Design
Currencies can act like code to program the rules for a game– setting up boundaries, routing feedback loops and regulating control. Games are inherently fun to play, and we can use the principles of game design to organize our grown-up work and transform it into a playful experience. Imagine if, instead of writing a boring to-do list each morning, you crafted a little game through which you could achieve your goals.
2. Rich Feedback
When we lack immediate feedback, we are prone to begin speculating or worrying which can lead to inaction because we don’t know whether our last action was successful and if we should continue down that route.
Imagine if every hour a little chime went off, reminding you to take a stretch break and asking you how clear you are about what you’re trying to do. As the day progressed you could see a chart of your performance, noticing when you got off-kilter and when you were dialed in.
3. Exterminate Borebom
Flow is the opposite of boredom. When we match high challenge with high skill, we fall into flow. The trick is to understand where your mastery lies, and what challenges you.
I’m not sure what it would look like, but imagine a currency that mapped you onto this chart in real time, helping you see if you need to turn up the challenge or do something at which you’re more skillful.
4. Keep it Simple
Clear goals, boundaries and contexts help us let go of a feeling of overwhelm and plug in to the task at hand. Perhaps as part of a game design, I could imagine Flow Currencies that require us to state the variables up front, state clear boundaries and time limits, and focus on incremental small successes.
5. Effortless Collaboration
This is where things could get really interesting. One of the challenges of collaboration is that we all work in different ways. So if we had currencies that made these human factors visible, we could gel into winning teams faster. What if a whole organization was structured to maximize the time spent in flow by its employees? What if projects were managed with the knowledge of how individuals on the team best concentrate and communicate, and was designed as a collaborative game? Imagine how productive this business would be if its employees were highly engaged and focused all day, working at a high level of skill on super challenging tasks?
Flow currencies will help companies outperform their peers
by having more fun.
They will help communities create more art in the streets.
They will help you be a rockstar.