TITLE: Csikszentmihalyi to Visit UNI
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: January 17, 2005 9:19 AM
DESC: What can the study of flow teach us about software development and teaching?
I recently learned that
will be visit my campus for several talks in early
March. Csikszentmihalyi (whose name is pronounced
'me-HI chick-SENT-me-hi') is well known for his theory
of flow and its role in creativity and learning.
Long ago I read some of Csikszentmihalyi's work, though
I've never read the bestseller that made his name,
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
Maybe now is the time.
Throughout his career, Csikszentmihalyi has studied
the psychology of the creative individual: What
characteristics are common to creative individual?
How do creative people create? His talks here, though,
will focus on the context in which creative
individuals thrive. His main talk will describe how
to create the sort of environment that must exist in
order for a creative individual to contribute most
effectively. His other talks will focus on specific
contexts: How can educators "design curricula that
capitalize on the human need to experience flow?"
How work can contribute to well-being, and how can
managers and employees create the right sort of
We agile folks often speak of "rhythm" and how TDD
and refactoring can create a highly productive
flow. And, while I've often heard critics say that
XP limits the individuality of developers, I've always
thought that agile methods can unleash creativity.
I'm curious to hear what Csikszentmihalyi has to say
about flow and how we can create environments that
support and nurture it, both for software development
and for learning. You may recall an
earlier discussion here
about flow in learning, inspired by the Suzuki
method of instruction and by
Alan Kay's talks at OOPSLA.
I think Csikszentmihalyi can help me to understand
these ideas better.