Total Engagement of the Massively Multiplayer Workforce
“Successful businesses in the future will redesign work from the gamer’s point of view.”
[From Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete by Byron Reeves and J. Leighton Read, Harvard Business School Press]
Yep, games are already informing the design of work. And friend, it has only just begun. As Reeves and Read express in their book, an army of gamers is penetrating the workplace, fueled by Red Bull and access to a sophisticated online gaming industry that is “staggeringly, stunningly big.”
Reeves and Read explore how the complex virtual worlds and cultural structures engaging this large swath of society will inevitably inform the structure of work. After their first illustrative story, it’s easy to conceive how avatars, guilds, and quests will invigorate employees and orient them around clear personal and organizational tasks. To us, it sounds like heaps of fun.
But while virtual worlds will eventually become the workspace for a large number or worker / players, we at Natron Baxter think you can engage your massively multiplayer workforce right now. Research suggests that even the simplest game inspired mechanisms — like forum ranks and LinkedIn’s profile completeness bar — can bring appreciable results. That’s why our explorations focus on ambient, complementary game overlays to existing enterprise systems. By using connectors to MS Outlook and SharePoint, for example, and tying key performance indicators to game events, we can provide feedback, objectives, and rewards without reinventing work. (For an example, see Garden Sneak Peek: Notifications.) Like it says up top there, every effort can be made rewarding.
As we’ve taken the book as an opportunity to orient and differentiate, we’ll be posting additional bits as we continue to chew on Total Engagement. Cheers to the authors for rallying around the serious power of games. Buy their dang book.
Keywords: Enterprise 2.0, Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback Systems, Games