Gamification: Should Business Take Games Seriously?
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Gamification—the application of game-design principles to non-game situations—is gaining traction among businesses that want to engage employees and customers. But can games help solve critical strategic challenges? And can they actually address serious business problems?
Many companies are applying the essence of games—fun, play and passion—to real-world business situations as a way to influence behaviors in everything from back-office tasks and training, to sales management and career counselling. Using game attributes that resonate with their target audiences, companies can often achieve higher performance. That’s all well and good for employee and even customer engagement, but can businesses apply gaming principles to solve more serious challenges – like strategy development and innovation?
Explore all sides below by clicking on each button:
|Serious business issues demand serious solutions.
Games and contests are a fun way to recognize and reward employee achievements. But strategy and innovation demand a more serious approach.
|Games can generate serious solutions.
Innovations and strategies often result from out-of-the-box thinking—exactly the type of thought processes that some games cultivate.
|So games hold the answer to big business breakthroughs? Yeah, right.
Games distract employees from their work, cutting into their productivity. We have better things to do.
|Popular games can hold answers when you focus on the game’s attributes.
Some game attributes, such as leaderboards and badges, can help build engagement and accelerate cultural shifts. Other types of game traits, such as anonymity, peer review and crowdsourcing, can lead to breakthrough thinking.
|Younger employees need a big dose of business reality to build leadership skills.
Many recent graduates already spend too much time playing online fantasy games. The most effective way to build tomorrow’s leaders is to immerse them in real-world experiences.
|Games can accelerate real-world learning.
Management trainees may never run into critical situations that test their leadership mettle on the job. “Serious” games can be designed to more quickly build and test leadership judgment in a safe environment.
|Our leaders don’t have time to play games.
Getting leaders together for a strategy session is costly. We have to make sure their time is well spent.
|Game principles can foster innovative ideas faster.
Gaming techniques can help break down political barriers that limit idea sharing. Plus, they can be used to cultivate and collect ideas from employees, customers and suppliers to supplement leadership’s thinking.
Andre Hugo, Director, Deloitte Digital RSA
We talk to many companies that want to implement game dynamics to enrich training, staff engagement, customer service and loyalty programs. But gaming can provide an even bigger opportunity for the broader business strategy.
Generally, it takes decades for leaders to gain the knowledge, skills and experiences to effectively develop and apply business strategies. Even with mentoring and rotating management assignments, developing effective leadership skills usually takes years. However, game-like simulations can expose current and future leaders to many real-world business scenarios and accelerate their learning.
For example, one client was concerned that retiring Baby Boomer executives with decades of supply chain experiences would leave a knowledge gap within the organization. They were challenged to capture this institutional knowledge so less-experienced managers could gain access to it. Using executive insights captured through interviews, they employed a 2-D, scenario-based game that was designed to allow participants to make real-world business decisions and quickly see likely outcomes.
This game proved invaluable as a strategic management tool following the 2011 tsunami. Within 24 hours of the disaster, the game was remodeled to remove Japan from the company’s supply chain mix. Based on previous experiences already embedded in the game, managers simulated what they could do and couldn’t do, allowing them to respond quickly with a new supply chain solution.
Strategic games hold potentially large benefits for businesses. First, employees moving up the ranks can test management approaches in a low-risk environment and accelerate their learning. Second, managers have a tool that’s available round-the-clock to test drive decisions in a simulated environment before they commit to any real-world action. And that’s when using games can help people solve serious challenges.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.