Looking for short videos or articles for office "brain food" talk
February 3, 2021 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Looking for your best, short videos (<15 mins) or articles that could lead to an interesting conversation among 10ish coworkers.

I work for a small professional services company that's trying to stay connected while working remotely during Covid. We've started a monthly "brain food" session, where everyone spends 10-15 mins watching the same video, or reading the same article, then discussing for 20-30 mins or until conversation dies down.

I'm leading this month, and I have no idea what video or article to choose.

My colleagues are all super smart and motivated, but not necessarily "intellectual". There will be mixed ages and mixed seniority in the group. Everyone leans left (or is strongly on the left) but I'd like to keep politics out of it. In terms of our day-to-day work, we're all client-facing, and write a lot of PPT reports and deliver a lot of presentations.

The criteria are pretty broad:
- Obviously work appropriate.
- Should help us think about things in new ways.
- Should be applicable to work, but doesn't have to be about work. TEDTalks have been popular. For example, last time we watched Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong by Julia Galef.

Bonus points:
- I've noticed that (not surprisingly), those with more seniority tend to talk a lot in these things, while the more junior folks mostly stay quiet. Would LOVE to find something that's especially relevant to our younger colleagues so they feel more empowered to speak up. (I'll also try to facilitate that as the leader.)
posted by pear to Work & Money (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
We watched this at work and I thought it was pretty interesting. It is about using checklists to reduce surgical deaths, but then applies it to other jobs as well.
posted by aetg at 7:34 PM on February 3, 2021

Brain Pickings might be a useful resource?
posted by eviemath at 8:16 PM on February 3, 2021

My workplace is currently doing a 21-Day Equity Challenge, and we found a lot of resources by looking at other workplaces' lists. Here are a few a colleague compiled!
posted by limeonaire at 9:00 PM on February 3, 2021

I feel like many of Maria Konnikovas articles would work for this.

You might also get some mileage out of the 99 Percent Invisible archives.
posted by athirstforsalt at 4:43 AM on February 4, 2021

A bit longer than your requested timescale but I recommend Why the brain is built for movement. Anders Hansen spoke at a software industry event I attended - not at all related to neuroscience - and it was really interesting.

As for facilitating more junior participation, a reminder at the start that you want to hear from everyone. Since this is probably over video chat and it's sometimes tough to break in, offer up the "raise hand" feature. And let chat happen too.

Lastly, something that sticks with me as a sometimes too enthusiastic participant: let 3 other people contribute before I speak again. I can't remember where I first encountered it, but incorporating this into the ground rules as a suggestion may temper some of the behavior.
posted by paradeofblimps at 9:34 AM on February 4, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all. I ended up choosing a couple shorter NYT articles, but you've all given me great content to read through on my own.

The Unexpected Joy of Repeat Experiences
The Case for Doing Nothing
posted by pear at 1:06 PM on February 4, 2021

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