The Gamification of Work (Gamification Post #4)

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8 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    Is the win-lose paradigm the only operative one for gamification of work? Are there some other forms of play that might be suitable (e.g. based on creating tunes or patterns, drawing, etc.)?

  2. anon says:

    You might be interested in the gamification of hiring. See, e.g.,

  3. In “The Grasshopper”, Suits writes that games involve “the voluntary effort to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. It’s very hard to create a game that’s fun when participation is mandatory. It’s hard to achieve a sense of “play” in such circumstance.

    When I created “Elevation of Privilege”, I almost fell into the “forced fun” trap, and failed. Instead, we discovered that games are a great training tool.

    So to your questions, we should play games at work for fun, by choice. We should reward winners, never penalize those who don’t want to play. (This might have interesting interplay with the law–there are perhaps more and less gameful cultures, and penalizing losers might be a form of tacit discrimination?).

    You might be interested in Ross Smith’s “The Future of Work is Play,” where he talks about Microsoft’s experience in where games do and don’t work in our workplace.

  4. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    AJ, yes, that makes sense – collaborative games rather than zero sum seem to make more sense in the workplace. Anon, thanks for the helpful link. Adam, good point that you believe this should be voluntary… However, if some people voluntarily choose to play a game and get rewards for playing and others who choose not to participate do not get rewards, I wonder how far we can go with that before it becomes “not voluntary”… Just a thought. Will check out the Smith article that you mention.

  5. Joseph Slater says:

    “We’re adding a little something to this months sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture?” — Black, from “Glengarry Glen Ross”

  6. Joseph Slater says:

    Oops: Blake, not Black.

  7. Tal Kedem says:

    Neal Stephenson has a humorous take on the “workification of gaming”, in a sense, in his novel Reamde ( ), which is a techno-thriller that also addresses gold farming in virtual worlds.

    In particular, I’d recommend the discussin of “MACUMAPPIS” starting around page 131 of the book. It’s also a fun read, generally.

  8. Culture is everything in the workplace. Not sure gamification will work in all environments. For example certain environments require employees to take their jobs very seriously. (Law offices, government, Hospitals, etc)