Archive for May, 2011

If All Of Work Were Gamified

May 23rd, 2011

This post originally appeared here on the Harvard Business Review site.

images-29Need to turn around your company? Trying to start a movement? Want to change the world? Easy Peasy! Just turn it in to a game. Everywhere we turn, it seems there are experts claiming that the best path forward is to engage people with elements of competitive play. The business world in particular has gone gaga for gamification.

I thought games were mainly for kids, and the occasional ice-breaker or temporary escape from reality. Why encourage more of them? As adults, aren’t we supposed to set aside childish things and get down to work on the problems of the real world?

Truth be told, I have always loved games. Stratego was a mainstay among my school buddies. We spent hour upon hour lining up red and blue soldiers to protect our flags. My family’s Monopoly  games were epic battles, beginning with the fight over game pieces. (No, I get the Scottish Terrier!) The side deals we struck and the arguments that ensued still liven up family gatherings. In college I became a professional Risk player. Tell me you didn’t learn about the challenges of fighting a multi-front war from playing Risk. Who among us hasn’t attempted to conquer the world by way of Kamchatka? Read more