All Work and No Play May Not Help Your Bottom Line

All Work and No Play May Not Help Your Bottom Line

Daniel Burrus 10/12/2020 9
All Work and No Play May Not Help Your Bottom Line

It is no secret that children are attracted to video games like moths to light.

From Minecraft to Roblox, children of today spend hours in front of screens both large and small, oftentimes much to the dismay of their parents and teachers.

Whether you have children of your own or not, you may believe these kids are using their time idly; however, it is actually quite the contrary. Believe it or not, they are likely learning while playing their favorite game, and furthermore, we as adults can learn a lot about these intuitive young individuals based on what they play.

This concept is part of a trend I first identified in the 1980s that I call gamification. Believe it or not, gamification is an increasing part of all of our lives in this new technological frontier, and is poised to educate adults just as much as video games educate children.

The Psychology of Play in Human Development

Many of the greatest technological advances in business and what motivates adults stem from the concept of open-ended play. Children have a boundless imagination and curiosity for the world around them, which they discover by playing.

To tie in gamification, whether it be a board game or a video game, play that involves working toward an end goal ties critical thinking skills to that discovery during play. Therefore, when young children use a computer to play a video game, there is a lot more going on than wrongfully perceived “wasted time.”

Outside of the game itself, they are using technology in a tactile sense, whether it be a controller, a touch screen, a mouse, you name it. Within the game, they are navigating a user interface, something we encounter every day in the personal and professional world, be it with our iPhones or a virtual teller at our bank.

Finally, there is the objective of the game. Take, for example, the popular video game Minecraft. The purpose of this game is to explore the virtual world, construct buildings and, yes, survive. It is an open-ended game, just as the Sims was for Millennials now navigating the adult world.

Gamification in Recreation

The concepts of gamification do not stop at children; they are massively evident in adult lives, both personally and, more importantly, professionally.

In the personal lives of adults, we see it everywhere in the fitness industry. FitBit is wearable technology that tracks your steps throughout the day, can sense when your heart rate is elevated while you work out, can even identify what workout you are doing, and maps out stats around your health in the corresponding smartphone app, allowing you to compete against yourself in your fitness journey.

Outside of wearable technology, interactive exercise equipment has gained traction, such as the Peloton, which gives you a virtual spin class trainer, personalized to encourage you to push yourself harder and defeat the “yesterday you.”

Professional Development and Gamification

It is easy to pinpoint gamification in recreation; however, what about in the professional world? Aside from the go-to thought of employees taking a quiz to learn about something they might already know, can elements of video games be integrated in adult learners?

Of course! Anticipatory leaders, take note: gamification and its benefit are a Hard Trend in training that will only accelerate as technology increases.

Here are five core elements of gamification that can be applied to the business world. 

  1. Self-Diagnostics: How much time have you wasted sitting through business training that mostly covered things you already knew, just to learn those few key items you didn’t? Why not give your business training a self-diagnostic component, like advanced video games in which the more feats you accomplish, the greater challenges the game gives you?

  2. Interactivity: Education and training are traditionally passive experiences: someone stands in front of the group and talks while you listen. But learning is far more effective when one interacts with the material, such as your ability to manipulate items in advanced video games. Create an interactive module for your business training instead!

  3. Immersion: Virtual Reality (VR) is by no means a “fad” that will fade with time. 3D is now interspatial: instead of images popping out at you, you enter them and become immersed in the information. In training customer service representatives on how to use a device you manufacture, it would be highly beneficial to immerse them in a VR experience of the product instead of having them memorize a spec sheet.

  4. Competition: The term “gamification” is mutually exclusive with competition, and it is why consumers are drawn to products like the aforementioned Peloton; they are naturally competitive. Passive training is too much of a level playing field, whereas training from competition fosters an adrenaline rush that keeps employees engaged, making everyone better. 

  5. Focus: When you play a game, you’re forced to focus. You have to do A before B can occur. If you don’t focus on doing A, you don’t get very far. Focus is enhanced by interactivity, competition, immersion, and self-diagnosis.

A Gamified Anticipatory Organization

Having a competitive advantage in business is crucial in this technologically disruptive world.

In order to help your organization have an anticipatory mindset, which encourages employees and leaders alike to pay attention to the Hard Trends that will happen and leverage disruption and change as opportunity and advantage, building an interactive training system that is as thrilling as racing cars or playing a sport will teach them how to think critically when staying on top of their game.

So the next time you think video games are just “child’s play,” think again. Consider how even the most entertaining games labeled as being “just for fun” can be applicable in business training as well.

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  • Nirwan Hitesh

    Who doesn't love challenges and advancing stages? It's only dumb companies that aren't invested in gamification.

  • Sacha Powell

    I thrive under pressure... Organisations should rethink their vision of the modern workplace... Excellent thoughts.... !!!

  • Chloe P

    Brilliant read

  • Richard David

    Excellent article

  • Adam Galloway

    Good read

  • Chelsea Louise

    Today's video games are very sophisticated. I know many coworkers who play video games as well. Whenever I finish work late in the evening, I play video games with my sister to destress. Don't be surprised that more and more women play video games. It's stimulating. Work is redundant and repetitive.

  • Lauren Mac Fadden

    This can only increase creativity

  • Kumar Mohit

    Good article

  • Lemi-Ola Erinkitola

    I'm all for more play and video games that enhance spatial thinking. I'd also like to extend VR to assist with any type of "how tos." What a creative way to support parents whose kids need homeschooling and online learning support.

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Daniel Burrus

Innovation Expert

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.

   

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