Eileen Clegg asked me some questions as part of a report she’s doing for the Future of Talent Institute.
1. How do you think gaming will change the landscape for people in charge of recruiting, developing and retaining top talent?
Gaming is an optimized performance environment, with all that entails. First, a game can both help individuals understand what a particular company is about (e.g. Sun’s games to introduce their business units), and what the job is like (e.g. America’s Army). It can also serve as a filter or aptitude test, where the better the individual performs, the better a candidate they’re likely to be. There are a couple of armed/military services around the world that have challenging games to test aptitude (a Scandinavian navy, and the British SAS, if memory serves).
Then, once an employee is onboard, games are the best practice environment next to real world mentored practice, and the latter doesn’t scale well (real practice can be expensive, both to develop and as a consequence of failure; individual mentors are similarly expensive). You can build contextually immersive practice with the depth to achieve mastery. The effort to convey what the job is like and to really develop people (instead of just knowledge dump) is a good incentive to employees to stick with the company, I believe.
Overall, I think that organizations that can take advantage of gaming to provide meaningful practice and assessment are leveraging the most powerful formal learning tool available and will have the competitive advantage.
2. What do you think is “least understood” about gaming right now?
Where do I start? Two things top my list.
First, is the belief that gaming is just ‘tarted-up quiz shows’, when it’s really truly challenging and effective learning practice.
Second, that it has to cost millions of dollars, when instead games can be done on reasonable budgets to meet many organizational needs.
The challenge is in the design, not the development costs, and if you get the design right the development may be quite affordable and the outcomes very effective.
3. What is the best quote from your new book to help us understand the gameification of the corporate world?
“The step from convenience to context-specific, however, provides a new opportunity. A mobile-specific type of game, augmented reality games (or ARGS), has the activity layered on top of real life, taking advantage of when and where you are to drive interaction.”…this form of learning has the potential to be more than effective, but to be truly transformational, and you should be primed to look for opportunities to take the learning experience to the next ‘level’.”
BTW, I did write augmented reality, and many would argue that I mean ‘alternate reality games’, and I do think those have wild potential as well, but here I am talking about context-specific games, and that would be augmented reality.