Can 21st-century games and gamers attack and destroy the top-down, assembly-line thinking that still keeps many businesses firmly rooted in the previous century?
Michael Hugos’ compelling new book makes a solid case that they can. Game mechanics, he argues, can reshape how workers work, how organizations are managed, and how business goals get accomplished in today’s volatile global economy.
“Games and the associated technology we currently refer to as video games offer us more than just a diversion and escape from difficult times,” contends Hugos. “They offer us field-tested models to use for organizing companies and performing complex and creative tasks. They offer clear and compelling examples for how people can work together, build their careers, and earn a living in rapidly changing and unpredictable environments.”
Hugos, principal at the Center for Systems Innovation, offers his well-written views in a 199-page book “loosely divided into three parts.”
Part One focuses on “ideas and case studies to illustrate how games can provide operating models to follow for redesigning work.”
Part Two presents “a discussion of games and game mechanics that are relevant to the way work is done.” He includes “specific examples, pictures, and case studies to show how game techniques and technologies can be applied to the design of new business systems and workflows.”
Part Three “describes business and social impacts of combining technology from video games with in-house corporate systems, consumer technology, and cloud computing. The book concludes with a discussion about where this is all going and what it might mean for the future of work.”
During the coming months, Enterprise Games may spur many discussions and arguments at all levels of enterprise. And these may lead to some business-model reorganizations not only in Corporate America but elsewhere in the interconnected global economy.
For these changes to happen, however, many company leaders will have to stop thinking “top down” and learn to adapt “the four traits of a game…goal, rules, feedback system, and voluntary participation” to how they to structure and operate a business.
“We all have a sense of what a game is,” Hugos notes. But most of us also have been taught that “play” is not “work.” Enterprise Games shows how the two concepts can be brought together in ways that can make companies more competitive and more profitable in these uncertain times.
— Si Dunn