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A short web cast looking at how ‘gamification’ – the application of game dynamics in the workplace – can improve employee engagement and productivity


The following short web cast exploring one of the key digital trends transforming the modern workplace.

Additional notes

I first stumbled across the collaborative potential within online gaming when doing an internal search for materials back when I was still at Microsoft. I was curious to see Xbox-related results linked to collaboration and connected with a team that was exploring collaborative behaviours within massive multi-player online games.

Fast forward over a decade and it has it’s own buzzword – Gamification. I absolutely hate the word and tend to use Game Dynamics instead when describing the use of game play in non-gaming environments to improve outcomes.

Game dynamics can take many different forms. But one of the most interesting is watching how online virtual world games demonstrate levels of engagement and collaborative decision making that many organisations desire but fail to achieve. The key difference is in the use of self-organising networks that prove more agile and responsive than the traditional managed hierarchy.

However, it is not simply a case of replacing a hierarchy with a network. Many enterprise social networking (ESN) initiatives fail because they are too open. There is no leadership making it difficult to move beyond the conversation. Conversation can be great. It can strengthen relationships, increase knowledge-sharing and lead to serendipitous discoveries. But without direction, the overall impact will be negligible.

To attempt to take a networked approach to the design of the organisation without descending into chaos means flattening down to ‘just enough’ hierarchy. Enough leadership to ensure decisions are made and acted upon. But not so much that bureaucracy ends up putting so much focus on following the plan correctly that nobody is able to point out the destination changed.

Such a redesign of the organisation is difficult to undertake. Culture trumps strategy every time. And that’s where game dynamics can come into force, giving people permission to experiment and learn new ways of working and forming collaborative decisions.

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flickr-skyrimFeatured image: ‘Skyrim Travel’ (yes I know, not World of Warcraft) kindly shared on Flickr by Braclo

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