Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete
|Author(s)||Byron Reeves and J. Leighton Read|
|Publisher||Harvard Business School Press|
|Publication date||November 2, 2009|
Every week, millions of people including many of your employees spend hours playing multi-player online games with a level of engagement they don t bring to work. These aren t just adolescent video games we re talking 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 your employees could solve customer problems, design new software, or configure better shipping routes working inside a game environment at work?
This isn t just possible, say Byron Reeves and J. 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 way beyond training tools. Implemented in the workplace, elements of games can solve a host of business problems with morale, communication, and alignment all while honing skills like data analysis, teamwork, recruitment, leadership, and more.
Based on extensive hands-on research, case studies, and the authors entrepreneurial ventures, Total Engagement convincingly outlines how games will transform work, from repetitive call-center jobs to high-level teams who must collaborate with members dispersed around the globe. The authors show why you must begin building a game strategy now and offer practical guidelines for how to:
- Select the game design features that can address your company s pain points
- Use avatars to increase engagement and productivity
- Employ virtual currencies to help employees set priorities, share resources, and meet goals
- Implement participant-driven communication systems to facilitate team-building
- Discover untapped leadership skills by shifting collaboration to game-like environments
- Mitigate possible negative effects of game applications at work
Authoritative and provocative, Total Engagement shows you how to become a player to reckon with as the gaming revolution transforms the workplace.
This collaboration between a Stanford University professor and a venture capitalist, both geeks at heart, turns out to live up, quite literally, to its title. By engaging their readers via immersion into fictional characters' work and play, Reeves and Read prove points 1 through 857: that games and virtual reality provide the right kind of business platform to solve common corporate people problems. Case one involves repetitive, boring routine work, as in call centers, being transformed in true-game environments by creating a stage, rules, and rewards that make continuous answering a compelling and intriguing job. Case two involves safety-driven video surveillance workers, when repositioned in a virtual world, becoming more attentive, more involved in the task, and, essentially, more productive. That the likes of IBM, Microsoft, and Sun are already proactively using avatars and games with style sheets as partial guidance should come as no surprise. The real amazement is that by erasing the boundaries between work and play, both these four-letter words can ring with employee passion and commitment. --Barbara Jacobs
About the Author
Byron Reeves is a professor at Stanford University and has authored over a hundred published studies of responses to immersive features of media, including games.
J. Leighton Read is a physician, inventor, successful biotechnology founder, CEO, and venture capitalist.