One of the new initiatives at Madgex is the introduction of the Ideas and Learning project. This is a cross between the Google 20% initiative and the Pixar University initiative. Out Ideas and Learning project gives us 35 days per year (roughly 15% of our working time) to developing our own ideas and learning. That covers building prototypes of new ideas, learning about a new technology, trying out something that we've been meaning to attend to, or learning new soft skills.

Yesterday I attended two internal workshops. The first was an hour long session on "Stress Management" which covered both the physical and emotional responses to stress and how the body/brain hasn't evolved sufficiently to allow for different types of stresses to be handled in different ways - we're still hard wired to run away from woolly mammoths, so when we feel stressed our senses become more acute, our heart starts pumping, our blood goes to our legs so we can start running, and our brain gets less blood. We learnt a technique for meditation which I'll give a try to help focus the brain on the present, rather than it over analysing stuff.

The second was a session on "Zen and the craft of software development" which was a whistle stop tour through some history of development covering the different paradigms, comments vs documentation, problem solving and including lots of hints and tips for development.

Both of these sessions were useful, in very different ways, and I can see that I'm going to gain a lot from this new initiative.