Are you in the game? Should you be in the game? How did gamification become a word?
What’s up? Gamification is rapidly flooding into the workplace and customer engagement vocabulary. Game experts are declaring that there are innumerable benefits from the application and transfer of the practices and principles from games to the workplace. By 21 years of age many males will have spent over 10,000 hour immersed in online gaming and according to Jane McGonigal 3 billion hours a week are spent by people engaged in gaming. Last Friday walking up the aisle of a fifty seat United flight from Chicago to Winnipeg I spotted 15 people engaged in games from Sudoku to computer and ipad games.
Gamers want to know: Where, in the real world, is that gamers sense of being fully alive, focused, and engaged in every moment? Where is the gamer feeling of power, heroic purpose, and community? Where are the bursts of exhilarating and creative game accomplishment? Where is the heart-expanding thrill of success and team victory? While gamers may experience these pleasure occasionally in their real lives, they experience them almost constantly when they’re playing their favorite games. (McGonigal, Reality is Broken, p.3)
So What? This industry has made massive study and progress with engagement. They have taken the balance between challenge and skill in flow states and fully operationalized this mechanism to keep people engaged, even glued to games. We who are in the workplace and the field of employee engagement have much to learn by studying and applying the principles and practices of gaming. We also must not get caught by gamification hysteria by keeping a focus on the limits and potential traps embedded in gamification.
What? Jane McGonigal believes that games make us better and that they can change our world. Here are a few of McGonigal’s key messages:
- Games help us tackle obstacles
- Games activate extreme positive emotions
- Games provide very satisfying work
- Games help us overcome failure
- Games strenghten social connection
- Games immerse us in epic efforts
- Games help us participate wholeheartedly wherever and whenever we can
- Games help us seek meaningful rewards for making a better effort
- Games contribute to a sustainable engagement economy
What next? We will see more and more games used with customers and employees. You should have a fundamental grasp of games. Here are 6 primer steps to enhance your awareness and knowledge of gaming:
- Reflect on your own experience with games and how engaged you get with games ranging from golf to online social games.
- Read Jane McGonigal’s , Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
- Read Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham’s, Gamification by Design.
- Play Freerice a game that asks basic questions and makes small steps to feeding the hungry, click here.
- Read this critical and comprehensive paper on gamification by Sebastian Deterding, From Game Design Elements to Gamefulness: Defining “Gamification.”
- Watch and study the 3 videos below:
Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world: If the video does not load, click here.
Tom Chatfield’s 7 ways games reward the brain. If the video does not load, click here.
Christoph Sebastian Deterding’s Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right. If the video does not load, click here.
What I think. I believe gamification is one of the key engagement approaches and tools for 2011 and beyond. I think the big challenge will be to ensure these approaches are meaningful, authentic and operate for conversion into work rather than a diversion from work. We must be on guard for the manipulative elements of gaming and the potential lack of spontaneous playfulness in work. We must be aware of the potential negative impact of gamification to foster engagement, achievement, and work. Having said that, I believe gamification can be a very valuable tool towards fuller engagement and corporate social responsibility.
What else? I encourage you to pay more attention to games and gamification. One of the best way to learn is by doing so I encourage you to get to work and play some games for a few hours this week and notice the impact games have on your engagement. Be mindful as you play cards or golf or dabble in some online games. Here are 4 games I encourage you to examine:
In addition, if you would like to view numerous well-designed slide presentations on gamification click on the Slideshare image below or click here.
David Zinger loved pinball as a child and youth and probably came close to the 10,000 hours playing a game that flipped, tilted, kept score, gave replays, and made a whole lot of noise. His favorite pinball game was Apollo.
David is currently creating a prototype of a game on engaged wellbeing for personal, organizational, and community benefit loosely based on the architecture of honeycomb construction by honey bees in their hive.