In the framework of my thesis, I am developing a game that's goal is to train users to regulate their emotions. That is why the world of gamification and the effect it has on our lives has become increasingly interesting to me.
People like playing games and are prepared to invest a substantial amount of time playing them. We also know that people are good at playing games and become "a better version" of themselves when doing so. Games contain a motivational factor that makes us want to be better, do something that has significance to others, cooperate, focus on finding solutions to every obstacle, and consistently try to deal with failures – things that aren’t trivial to us in "the real world".
Now all that's left is to design a game with an important purpose and what we have is a successful recipe for problem solving!
That is exactly what Purposeful Games are – games that are designed to make the player reach a specific goal, that goes beyond the actual game or achieves more than the fun in playing it. These games contain ideas and values that influence the player's thoughts and behavior in real life. A combination of a gaming environment and "serious" content makes the game effective, educational, and fun!
Many organizations implement principles of gamification in their internal and client-facing routines and relationships, especially when it comes to accelerating learning processes. Games are utilized to boost organizational elements such as employee motivation, cooperation, problem solving, acquisition of new knowledge, management simulations and much more.
I recently read an article in the Israeli digital journal "Alaxon" that reviews the field of computer games and the way they influence various facets of our lives, including in organizations. In the article, Professor Byron Reeves of the Department of Communication at Stanford University is quoted saying: "if you want to see how leadership in business will look like in the next 3-5 years, look at what's happening in online gaming".
Following his line of thought, IBM has concluded that people, invested in the virtual world (that includes multiple-user online games) connecting millions worldwide, are ideal candidates for managerial positions. These people stand out in their abilities to collect information from remote resources, conduct strategic risk-taking and transition effectively between challenges they are faced with.
IBM conducted research that shows that games can be turned into so called "flight simulations" for managers that enable them to lead global virtual teams before doing so in the "real world". Turns out that not only do employers believe in these simulations, but employees themselves stated that participating in multiple-user online games elevated their managerial skills in the work place.
There is no doubt that games are a powerful tool for change that can be implemented in the workplace. Imagine the added value you can incorporate in your organization if you implement gaming in your daily organizational routines and processes.
To learn more about Purposeful Games watch Jane McGonigal's Ted Talk: "Gaming can make a better world".
Written by Lihi Erel
*Lihi is Social Psychologist and a Learning developer at Lotem..