Online Games as a Strategy for Making Work Fun

Lets face it: most work is not designed, but simply takes place in settings and flows that have evolved haphazardly. The result of incremental boundaries is often overly-burdensome process or jobs where you sink or swim with too little structure. Imagine if jobs were as carefully thought out as the environment and reward systems in great games.

We’ve identified ten fundamental game ingredients in our research:

  1. Self representation with avatars
  2. Three dimensional environments
  3. Narrative context (great stories)
  4. Feedback
  5. Reputation, ranks and levels
  6. Marketplaces and economies
  7. Competition under rules that are explicit and enforced
  8. Teams
  9. Parallel communication systems that can be easily reconfigured
  10. Time pressure
Leighton Read, Partner at Alloy Ventures and co-author of Total Engagement describes the role of online games as a strategy for making work fun. Leighton is a Maverick for The Management Innovation Exchange (The MIX), where management innovators come together to share their ideas and ideals. It’s time to reinvent management; you can help. Join the conversation here.

The Knowledge Economy of World of Warcraft

Within the guilds of this popular computer game, real innovation is taking place. Thousands of new ideas happen daily through crowdsourcing. In addition, all performance is measured and critiqued, both as a group and individually. Guilds also work collaboratively on larger projects, allowing for radical, exponential learning and results. Deloitte Center for the Edge’s John Seely Brown encourages business thinkers to use the practices of the game as a strategic model for building better innovation.

What Games Teach

Video Games 101
James Paul Gee, a leading proponent of developing video games for education, explains how video games like Grand Theft Auto actually can be educational. Gee is a professor at Arizona State University
  1. Kids play games socially. Games are not a socially isolating technology.

  2. They want to teach / mentor / build in their communities.

  3. Get to be an expert, but be on a team with other experts.

  4. In business, this is called cross-functional teams; experts able to integrate their expertise with other experts in order to pull off action with others.

Hat tip to Rubaiyat.

Design Outside the Box

Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, dives into a world of game development which will emerge from the popular “Facebook Games” era. Read more at G4TV.

Hat tip to @sherrymain.

Learning in Virtual Worlds

Avatar II: The Hospital

The nurses have been told there’s a crisis. But they’re hardly prepared for the chaos that awaits.

Dozens of patients, stricken with a debilitating flu, crowd the emergency room. Some slump mutely in chairs. Others wander, moaning or calling out for blankets. Just as the nurses begin triage, part of the hospital goes dark: a blackout.

This chaotic scene isn’t real—it’s part of an online simulation designed to help nurses make quick, sure decisions in emergencies. Dozens of hospitals, medical schools and health foundations have staked out space in the online community Second Life, where participants can build their own .. [more here]

On Leadership: How Video Games Build Leaders

On Leadership: Stanford professor Byron Reeves on how online multiplayer games like ‘World of Warcraft’ are creating the next generation of leaders.

(Video by Katherine Crnko and Andrea Useem/Washington Post)

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.

You may find the following related posts of interest:

Real World Camaraderie through Virtual Worlds
New Models for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Can World of Warcraft Teach Us to Save?

In-Game Guerilla Marketing Hits WoW

Jane McGonigal on Games in the Classroom

Beyond Design Thinking
It’s Called Design Management

Education 2.o - not afraid of Second Life!

Dissatisfied with a recent PBS Frontline piece on the “Digital Nation”, Mr. Despres went to Second Life & was impressed how teachers in the trenches use technology to transform American education. Draxtor thought we were doomed, but now - optimism has returned!

This video is very well produced and finally begins to position virtual worlds such as Second Life in the proper context. Moving ahead, slowly but surely.

Real World Camaraderie through Virtual WorldsNew Models for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
What do joining the military, engaging in massively multiplayer online (MMO) adventures and competing in the world of business have in common?
You can only get so far on your own.
At some point you have to socialize and work with others for the greater good (as well as for rewards unattainable while flying solo).
You must participate with and rely on the assistance of others — often as an integral member of a team — most times with complete strangers who may drop the ball at any time.
You need the help of others as much as they need your help.
As a member of the team, you must meet certain performance criteria or compromise the team’s chances of success.
You are exposed to — and learn about — leadership by either becoming a leader yourself or by observing the successes or failures of others who have taken up the mantle before you.
You grow as a result.
How is engaging in massively multiplayer online (MMO) adventures different than joining the military or risking it in the world of business?
The real military requires a long-term investment of time and personal sacrifice which may result in one’s  literal departure from this plane of existence.
The real world of business is an unforgiving environment that claims the corporate lives of around 70% of all new businesses within their first ten years. Certain types of skills (especially those related to working with other people) are best learned off the job.
The virtual world of MMOs offers a safe sandbox in which interdisciplinary teams can collaborate to tackle, overcome or fail at challenges without risk of bodily or financial harm. Furthermore, MMOs afford a plethora of opportunities in which real-world learning and personal growth can take place to enable people to better realize their strengths and weaknesses while building real-world bonds with fellow collaborators.
According to Seriosity, the following specific features of game environments can be adopted by business (or non-profit, edu, etc.)  to enhance productivity, innovation and leadership:
Incentive structures that  motivate workers immediately and longer term
Virtual economies that  create a marketplace for information and collaboration 
Transparency of  performance and capabilities
Recognition for  achievements
Visibility into networks  of communication across an organization
You may find the  following related posts of interest:
Can World of Warcraft Teach Us to Save?
In-Game Guerilla Marketing Hits WoW
Jane McGonigal on Games in the Classroom
Beyond Design ThinkingIt’s Called Design Management

Real World Camaraderie through Virtual Worlds
New Models for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

What do joining the military, engaging in massively multiplayer online (MMO) adventures and competing in the world of business have in common?

  1. You can only get so far on your own.

  2. At some point you have to socialize and work with others for the greater good (as well as for rewards unattainable while flying solo).

  3. You must participate with and rely on the assistance of others — often as an integral member of a team — most times with complete strangers who may drop the ball at any time.

  4. You need the help of others as much as they need your help.

  5. As a member of the team, you must meet certain performance criteria or compromise the team’s chances of success.

  6. You are exposed to — and learn about — leadership by either becoming a leader yourself or by observing the successes or failures of others who have taken up the mantle before you.

  7. You grow as a result.

How is engaging in massively multiplayer online (MMO) adventures different than joining the military or risking it in the world of business?

  1. The real military requires a long-term investment of time and personal sacrifice which may result in one’s literal departure from this plane of existence.

  2. The real world of business is an unforgiving environment that claims the corporate lives of around 70% of all new businesses within their first ten years. Certain types of skills (especially those related to working with other people) are best learned off the job.

  3. The virtual world of MMOs offers a safe sandbox in which interdisciplinary teams can collaborate to tackle, overcome or fail at challenges without risk of bodily or financial harm. Furthermore, MMOs afford a plethora of opportunities in which real-world learning and personal growth can take place to enable people to better realize their strengths and weaknesses while building real-world bonds with fellow collaborators.

According to Seriosity, the following specific features of game environments can be adopted by business (or non-profit, edu, etc.) to enhance productivity, innovation and leadership:

  • Incentive structures that motivate workers immediately and longer term

  • Virtual economies that create a marketplace for information and collaboration

  • Transparency of performance and capabilities

  • Recognition for achievements

  • Visibility into networks of communication across an organization

You may find the following related posts of interest:

Can World of Warcraft Teach Us to Save?

In-Game Guerilla Marketing Hits WoW

Jane McGonigal on Games in the Classroom

Beyond Design Thinking
It’s Called Design Management

Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at Institute for the Future, talks about the differences in the increased level of engagement and optimism students have with games over the classroom.

Design the classroom experience to remove fear of failure. Promote collaboration & experimentation to stimulate learning.