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A Newton's cradle executive toy

An office toy (also executive toy or desk toy) is a novelty item typically placed on the desk of a corporate executive or other office worker. They have no work-related function, but are usually interesting to look at and entertaining.[opinion] Office toys can be intended to provide decoration or pleasure, relieve stress or inspire creativity.[1][2] The Newton's cradle is a classic example of an office toy.[2][3]


Different types of office toys provide different needs to their users. Although providing pleasure and being decorative could be the two major functions in office toys, there are still some differences between each types of office toys. For example, puzzle-type toys can also help inspire creativity. Design curator Donald Albrecht described executive toys as "aspirational" objects, "less tools for provoking creativity than foghorns of identity and status in a sea of corporate homogeneity."[2] According USA Today, Fidget spinner “office toy of 2017. Basically, fidget spinners are the modern version of a desk staple – the stress ball.[4]



  1. ^ Hsiang Cheng 'Sam' Wang (2007) The Investigation of Office Toy. National Central Library
  2. ^ a b c d e f Julie Lasky (2015) "Designing Distraction: Executive Toys" The New York Times, 4 February 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Jason England (2015) "Executive desk toys explained" Cosmos, 20 July 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  4. ^ Cindi R. Clubb (2014) "Why are hand spinner toys so popular?" Kids Ride Wild, 25 march 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Rose Hoare (2012) "Toy story: Office playthings come of age" CNN, 4 September 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. ^ Chris Merriman (2013) "MIT demonstrates a morphing computer interface" The Inquirer, 14 November 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2016.