Harvard Business Review Press
November 2, 2009
Every week, millions of people – including many of your employees – spend hours playing multiplayer online games with a level of engagement they don’t bring to work. These aren’t adolescent videogames – were talking about rich narrative quests with 3-D environments, cool avatars, and compelling goals and rewards. Imagine the value if you could transfer key ingredients of game design – and the gamer excitement and focus that come with it – to the office. What if employees could solve customer problems, design new software, or configure better shipping routes – while working inside a game environment?
This isn’t just possible, say Byron Reeves and Jay. Leighton Read; it’s inevitable. As global competition intensifies and employee productivity and engagement become more critical, the user experience provided by game technology offers a tantalizing solution for business. This is far more than a quaint metaphor for business, and it’s simply beyond training tools. Implemented in the workplace, elements of games can solve a host of problems with morale, communication, and alignment – while honing skills like data analysis, teamwork, recruitment, and leadership.
Based on extensive research, case studies, and the authors’ entrepreneurial ventures, Total Engagement outlines how games will transform work, from repetitive call-center jobs to high-level teams who must collaborate with globally dispersed colleagues. The authors show why you must begin building a game strategy now – and offer practical guidelines for:
- Selecting game design features that can address your company’s “pain points”
- Using avatars to increase engagement and productivity
- Employing virtual currencies to help employees set priorities, share resources, and make goals
- Implementing participant-driven communication systems to facilitate team building
- Discovering untapped leadership skills by shifting collaboration to game like environments
- Mitigating possible negative effects of game applications at work
Authoritative and provocative, Total Engagement shows how to become a player to reckon with as the game revolution transforms the workplace.
Byron Reeves is a professor at Stanford University and has authored over one hundred published studies of responses to the immersive features of media, including games.
J. Leighton Read is a physician, inventor, successful biotechnology founder, CEO, and venture capitalist.