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An Event Apart: Beyond Play by Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis

At An Event Apart – Austin 2013, Joshua Davis shared his thoughts on why work and play should be the same, but for many, they are opposites. Here are my take-aways:

  • Joshua Davis is a generative artist who uses computer code to generate repetitive patterns and designs that are highly detailed and pretty amazing – See his work here. He designed the face of Watson, the robot who played on Jeopardy.
  • Many adults say that the opposite of work is play
  • Kids say that the opposite of work is: boring/hard/home/lazy. Probably because kids know their parents ‘go to work’ and when they aren’t at work, are probably at ‘home’, or are ‘lazy’, etc.
  • Joshua thinks that work and play are synonyms not antonyms.
  • When you engage in creative play, you discover the unknown.
    • For example, I recently learned that 3M has a ’15 percent program’ that allows their employees 15% of their time to research and investigate their own ideas. As a result, products like scotch tap and sticky notes were invented. More about this idea here.
  • If you never engage in creative play, you are only going to replicate others’ work, rather than truly innovating.
  • “The type of work you make is the work you will get hired to make” — Joshua Davis
  • “Someone will hire you to be you… and isn’t that great!?!?” — Joshua Davis
  • “Success means going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm  — Winston Churchill


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