Do games hold the secret
to better productivity?
If you’ve ever found yourself engrossed in Angry Birds, Call
of Duty, or a plain old crossword puzzle when you should have been doing something
more productive, you know how easily games hold our attention. Hardcore gamers
have spent the equivalent of 5.93 million years playing World of Warcraft while
the world collectively devotes about 5 million hours per day to Angry Birds. A
colossal waste of time? Perhaps. But what if we could tap into all the energy,
engagement, and brainpower that people are already expending and use it for
more creative and valuable pursuits?
Harnessing the power of games sounds like a New Age fantasy—or
at least a fad that’s only for hip start-ups run by Millennials in Silicon
Valley. But according to Adam L. Penenberg, the use of smart game design in the
workplace and beyond is taking hold in every sector of the economy, and the
companies that apply it are witnessing unprecedented results. “Gamification”
isn’t just for consumers chasing reward points anymore. It’s transforming,
well, just about everything.
Penenberg explores how, by understanding the way successful
games are designed, we can apply them to become more efficient, come up with
new ideas, and achieve even the most daunting goals. He shows how game
mechanics are being applied to make employees happier and more motivated,
improve worker safety, create better products, and improve customer service.
For example, Microsoft has transformed an essential but
mind-numbing task—debugging software—into a game by having employees compete
and collaborate to find more glitches in less time. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an
independent automaker based in Arizona, crowdsources designs from car
enthusiasts all over the world by having them compete for money and recognition
within the community. As a result, the company was able to bring a cutting-edge
vehicle to market in less time and at far less cost than the Big Three
These are just two examples of companies that have tapped
the characteristics that make games so addictive and satisfying. Penenberg also
takes us inside organizations that have introduced play at work to train
surgeons, aid in physical therapy, translate the Internet, solve vexing
scientific riddles, and digitize books from the nineteenth century. Drawing on
the latest brain science as well as his firsthand reporting from these
cutting-edge companies, Penenberg offers a powerful solution for businesses and
organizations of all stripes and sizes. Download and start listening now!