Playing at Work : Gamification of the Enterprise


I was watching Sir Ken Robinson, who’s ideas on new directions for 21st century education have redirected policy on what it means to educate.

In a recent RSA talk, Ken revisits the ideas he gave at the RSA event two years ago, “Changing Education Paradigms” as below.

In the revisited talk he reiterates and adds onto the concepts he initially talked about, but which I will not go into: the talk is an hour long and then some, and is not the point of this post.

In the first five minutes of the talk he stated something that sparked a mindflame.

In a nutshell, he says the school system was a product of the industrial age, where running processes by the mill was the norm, and the mode of education was so, as its design was based on prevailing concepts of management of large numbers of people in an industry.

He said, no 21st century corporation in its right mind, would run its business like a school; where workers get in early, do one task, a bell rings, they move to  another room and move to something else, another bell rings and they all leave for break, a bell rings and they rush back to different task. Latecomers are punished.

I listened to this and thought, wait a minute.

Whilst some present day corporations may have implemented 21st century models for productivity, the majority still remain in the industrial age!

A lot of organisations have their staff clock in, work at one task for a specified time, a bell rings and you move to another task, another bell is rung and you move out for a break, if you stay to long, HR punishes you!

Appraisals, career and personal development, trust, esteem,are designed straight from the industrial age,. Thinking,creativity and judgement calls are not stimulated or encouraged.

The few, the brave, are well documented.

These are organisations that have gone all the way with providing creative spaces and freedoms for maximum productivity. Google for example, has been well documented as spearheading these environments.

Check out the following list:

1. The meals and snacks are all free. The cafeterias feature gourmet chefs that create healthy and delicious meals everyday.

2. There is a barbershop available in the office.

3. Google offers a 2k employee referral program.

4. New parents can reimburse up to $500 in takeout food.

5. Rest and recreation can be done in the office. There is a billiard table, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, beach volleyball area, video games, Foosball, table tennis equipment and roller hockey facilities.

6. Employees are allowed to bring their pets to the office.

7. Washers and dryers are available in the office. Even the detergents are for free. For those who need dry cleaning, that service is also available within the premises.

8. Decompression capsules are available for employees who want to relieve their stress. These capsules have been designed so that it would be impermeable to light and sound.

9. Employees can make use of motorized scooters to move from one part of Google’s sprawling area to another.

10. Shuttles are available to help transport employees to and from the office. These shuttles offer free Wi-Fi services.

11. You can have your car’s oil changed regularly for free in the office.

12. Car wash is also available for all car owners.

13. A modern, well equipped and state-of-the-art gym is available for free.

14. Employees can enroll in exercise classes for free.

15. Google’s mobile library offers the latest collection in books, magazines and other publications for free to its employees.

16. Employees wanting to learn a new language may enroll for fee in classes in Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and French.

17. Private cabin areas are available in each and every floor for employees to be able to attend to their own private affairs.

18. For further relaxation, there are self-controlled massage chairs available. Aquariums are positioned strategically in front of these massage chairs to help the user achieve a tranquil state.

19. A professional masseuse is available within the premises that employees can visit anytime.

20. Saunas are available within the office.

– See more at: http://globolstaff.com/the-perks-of-working-at-google.html#sthash.NSHhVX9q.dpuf

If you are a startup, or a small-midsize organisation, and the expected results make sense to you, you may be willing to surgically integrate modern work systems,software and policies that allow creativity,productivity and high esteem, end to end.

However, the constraints of the nature of your industry may limit you; the hundred years of guilded history and guidelines around Law,Masonry, Insurance, Engineering, Medicine and similar “old” industries with looooooooooooooong legacies tend to be averse to novel ideas.

Also, not everyone is Google.

How then, do we find a middle ground?

Through technology and the tools we use.

Organisations today are almost entirely dependent on the processing of information on technology tools. Billions spend many, many hours each day staring into computer skills on emails, ERPs, CRMs ad nauseum.

If you are considering ways of integrating new-age industrial design without extensive surgery, consider gamification of your corporate processes.

Bunchball are one such company that provide solutions that enable gamification of the workplace, whatever your process.

Gamification software is transforming the way businesses engage with customers and motivate employees. By applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to websites and other online experiences, businesses can dramatically increase the size of their audiences, boost customer engagement, drive deeper employee engagement, and increase revenues.

Game mechanics can help organisations:

Here is a video of how Bunchball have implemented gamification for Salesforce.

This is, by the way, not a sponsored post. I wish it were 🙂 ( HELLLOOOO BUNCHBALL)

Here is another video that highlights the workings of gamification.

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