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Working on projects with defined briefs, outcomes and budgets, sometimes means we have to limit how wild and exotic our teams can go with their solutions. Prag Labs is an opportunity for our team to let their creativity run free, try out ideas, build prototypes and explore new technologies or ways of doing things that may introduce risk or blow budgets in project work.

“Prag Labs gives me the chance to work with new cutting edge programming languages or frameworks without the constraints of a brief. I can then feedback learnings into new projects which is a win for the company.”

– Carmine Colicino, Developer @ Pragmatic

Based on Google’s 20% time or Atlassian’s Ship It (Fed-Ex) Days, Prag Labs is time set aside within the working week for our team to create any project, related to what we do at Pragmatic, in a group or individually. Services we use daily, such as Gmail and Google Docs, were born in Googlers’ 20% time. We’re hoping that maybe there’s a future game changer in Prag Labs projects that could be the next big product or service for Pragmatic.

“A while ago we were told by Matt Mullenweg to learn JavaScript deeply, which sounds like a cliche now! I used the Prag Labs time to start playing with React JS and D3 for data visualisation. I am working on something very cool in a team with people I don’t usually get a chance to work with.”

– Juan Javier Moreno, Developer @ Pragmatic

Prag Labs time is not just for developers

Every team member can use the time to work on improving processes, trying out new services, creating internal communication ideas or designing something that boosts the way Pragmatic works.

“I’m looking into a way to present photo realistic 3D images of products! It could be something we present to a client we work with, but I need to prove the concept first. Prag Labs is ideal opportunity to investigate and see if it’s something we can sell to our clients.”

– Phil Dinsdale, Support Manager @ Pragmatic

Protecting Prag Labs time

In an article for Quartz in 2013, Chris Mims wrote that Google’s 20% time was “as good as dead”. This was mainly because it was too hard for team members to prioritise their own projects over normal work. To combat this, we’re putting aside a designated day a month for our team to get in the Prag Lab. This also encourages people to team up, move around the studio and work with people they may not get a chance to on our client project work.

At the end of each quarter there we get together and everyone has a chance to show off their project. This could be an individual demo, a group presentation, sharing of a prototype or just a walk through what’s been done and what’s been learnt. We look forward to sharing some of our Prag Labs stories, and who knows, maybe one of the projects will bubble out of the lab and into our products and services.