SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011


[email protected]




(212) 592-2228

Join the Fun! – SVA MA Design Research

Lisa O’Neil

Join the Fun!

The gamification of everything is here to stay.  Our relationship with technology has eroded our attention spans to less than that of a virtual gnat, so anything that captures even an extra millisecond of our consideration is adding value.  Companies are investing significant sums to perfect the secret sauce of play and productivity, and numerous examples of successes are well documented.  Nevertheless, corporate America’s original old-school, low-tech stab at gamifying work seems immune from modernization or even a quiet shuffle into obsolescence.  The company holiday party endures.

The winter holidays are the busiest, most stressful time of year for most people. The demands of family and friends stretch schedules paper thin, and companies that begin their fiscal calendars on January 1 are scrambling to make their numbers.  Still, I have yet to meet an executive or human resources manager who can adequately reconcile these facts with a “reward” for employees that extorts an evening of their personal time to “celebrate” with coworkers (people with whom they are already spending double the time as with loved ones).  OK, so there is liquor, but if spirits are required for the fun then perhaps it isn’t so much?

Worse are the organizers of these parties who pretend to ameliorate their robbing of employees’ personal time by inviting significant others, a double-dip pilfering.  At least the employees-only version is only coercing those who get the paychecks. If a company really wants to celebrate end-of-year prosperity with its employees, it should do so with the entity already designed for such sentiments:  cash.

For those event planners who cling to the belief that company morale is in any way related a holiday party, I offer this formula:

  • Cater a nice lunch for employees only.
  • Serve good champagne and stream classical music.
  • Conclude after no more than 2 hours and give everyone the rest of the day off.

Daylight and hints of refinement – even if they will intoxicate with overconsumption – have a restorative effect that a Monday night bourbon binge with Al from accounting will never achieve.  And, as a bonus for edgy HR managers, the noontime champagne lunch makes being Weinsteined considerably less likely.