Saturday, April 16, 2011

Games @ Work
Over the past six months, I have been thinking about the potential use of gaming within the enterprise. The explosive growth of Zynga and other social gaming companies demonstrates how engaging the combination is. In addition, we humans respond extremely well to rewards: loyalty programs, bonuses, etc. Reward programs are also widely used to incent certain customer and employee behavior.

Recently, I came across a new term for this trend - Gamification. I like the Wikipedia definition: The use of game play mechanics for non-game applications.

Game theory is beginning to be widely used to influence customer engagement, behavior and even employee productivity. This BusinessWeek article has examples of use of game theory at a broad range of companies: SAP, Hilton, Siemens, UPS, Nissan, Target, etc.

Earlier this week, Gartner, jumped on the bandwagon with a bold statement: "over half of innovation will be gamified by 2015". Here is a ZDnet story covering Gartners' report in detail. Gartner is advising that "Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of, and lead, the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization".

I am pleased that we at the CTO Roundable of Washington DC sensed the trend early and are putting together our next Summit on "What CTOs should learn from Gaming" in early fall.

Image: Pacman by Preeti

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