The rules of play: what businesses can learn from game technology

More and more companies are applying game-like features to their administrative processes and staff motivation strategies, but how likely is it that the trend will stand the test of time?

Game-like elements have a unique potential to change the way organizations engage people to sell them new products, teach them or nudge them into socially or personally positive outcomes. Game designers are effectively becoming the architects of a new generation of businesses, smarter organizations and, perhaps, more harmonious societies.

The potential goes beyond education or marketing, however. By designing game-like elements into its business travel scheme, for example, Google has managed to induce its employees to share budget-saving tips with one another, saving the company millions of dollars.

" You need a game designer who can understand the motivation of the player. The systems you develop depend on what you want to icentivize people to do."

Large organizations are using gamification to transform routine processes and motivate staff. US retailer Target recently built a checkout game for cashiers. They play it while serving customers and the system gives them feedback on how they are doing compared with their peers.

Gamification is set to be an influential trend because it is generational. Increasing numbers of us have grown up with, or become accustomed to, interactive game play. While 65% of under 35s play games regularly, that figure rises to 99% of under 12s.

There is evidence that some of the companies that are eager to get involved are missing the point. While the potential to engage people through game-like elements is theoretically without limit, an attempt to harness it without understanding the core elements that make it work could lead to wasted time and money.

Large organizations that are seeking to attract and keep young talent now and in the future will have to take note of how differently members of the gaming generation think, what motivates them and how to harness their potential by engaging them in the right way.

The complete article was written by:

  • Andrew Stone
    Freelance business journalist

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