Friday 8 April 2011

#HRD11: Social gaming and why I’m catching up on posts


CIPD HRD Angel  For the last couple of days, I’ve been to the CIPD’s HR (HR Development) conference in London.  I was there as press and my intent was to post regularly throughout both days.  Unfortunately my (T-Mobile) dongle wasn’t working and there was no wifi(!), so I wasn’t able to post.  Well, OK, I suppose I was able to draft some posts, but I probably needed the positive reinforcement of seeing my posts out there, and getting your reaction to these, to continue writing - without this ability I find it hard to motivate myself in the same way.

Ben Betts of HT2 would understand.  I met Ben earlier in the day and attended some of his workshop this afternoon as well.  His company produces cost-effective social games for companies, linking both online and face-to-face aspects to produce real and imaginative learning opportunities for business professionals (a bit like Second Life without the nerd factor, or L’Oreal’s Reveal without the £1m+ cost!).

For example, as well as the system they provide actors playing the part of company executives, and a telephone number and ‘receptionist’ that people can call (the company in the scenario we discussed isn’t performing that well so it actually works out quite well when there’s nobody available to answer the call!).

We also discussed Archrival’s perspectives that I posted on earlier this week, and going back a bit further, Byron Reeves’ book Total Engagement.  I wrote in my post on this that I thought these perspectives just a bit far fetched, noting that just because gaming is engaging doesn’t mean business needs to become a game to improve engagement.  I think Ben tended to agree with my assessment - there are things we can learn from games, in order to improve on-line learning, and improve business performance too.  But let’s not take this too, too far.

One of the things we can learn about is intrinsic motivation.  Ben and I discussed Dan Pink’s book, Drive and Ben agreed on my note about the importance of relatedness and it being a shame that this was filtered out in Pink’s work.  Ben suggested the key factors behind engagement are autonomy, competence and relatedness.

Gaming meets all of of these needs – it helps people see how they’re progressing and keeps them motivated to continue this progression.  As I wrote in the new book I’ve co-authored with Dave Ulrich et al:

“…in gaming, which is increasingly being introduced and adapted into organisations and in which being provided with instant feedback produces immediate, or at least short-term, performance improvement.”


Or, as Archduke’s Hull noted, “there’s nothing fun about learning, what’s fun is applying what you’ve learned”.

Blogging may not quite the same thing as a social game, but it’s not completely disconnected from this either. Just like with gaming, it’s the social feedback that’s most important – without this, it’s just no fun, and hence no posting earlier.


Picture credit: @cipd_events


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