Sharing code and visual experiments has always been a huge part of my professional life. Experimentation in Flash launched my career, and remained an important theme in my presentations for years. I exhorted audiences to make time for play, but ultimately forgot to follow my own advice.
As the company grew, and life got busier, I lost the habit of building things for fun. I’d dabble now and then, but there was no real concerted effort to create something worth sharing.
This seems to have affected much of the industry. The lab section used to be an integral part of every agency’s site, now they are rare, and when they do exist, tend to be really sparse.
It’s time for that to change, at least for us. We’re launching our lab section today. It has a decent smattering of experiments already, and we’ll add to it as time goes on.
I don’t love everything in our lab, but that’s the point, these are unfinished playthings. Some of them will be revisited and improved, most of them will be abandoned in favour of a new idea or the demands of client work. We will aim to publish early, publish often, and release code so others can build on our ideas.
As a reflection of our growth, content in the lab won’t be exclusively created by me. My amazing team will also be sharing their creative explorations. For now, I’m the largest contributor, but as the team gains confidence and momentum, I hope my contributions are dwarfed by theirs.
My hope is that doing this not only helps spark new ideas and a continued creative passion in our team, but also that it may help nudge the next young coder to play with technology, and build things for the joy of it, not just for a paycheque.
So, check out lab.gskinner.com, and let us know what you think. We’ll try to remember to tweet and/or blog new entries as we add them. We’re still working on sharing code for a lot of the entries, but that should come soon.