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Digital Transformation

Gartner PCC – Reality is Broken and Gaming

Jane McGonigal was our keynote speaker this morning at Gartner’s Portal, Content and Collaboration conference.  Dr. McGonigal recently wrote a book called “Reality is Broken” in which she discusses gaming and its impact on industry.

I’ll admit upfront, I’m not much of an online gamer.  Occasionally I play games such as Angry Birds and others, but I don’t spend more than a couple of hours per month playing games.  I used to try to play more, but I was more active with trying to play offline with my children.  Its kind of strange to say offline, so maybe I should say in the real world.

With that background, I was initially a skeptic about this whole gamification talk I’ve been hearing.  But I went to presentation at LotusSphere and saw how this can really be a benefit. So I started to come around to this idea.

Now, after today’s keynote, Dr McGonigal has made it crystal clear that this is not some fad, but a serious topic that has great potential to improve business.  Why? Well one reason is numbers:

  • 1,000,000,000 – that’s one billion – gamers throughout the world in 2011.  That’s up from 500 million in 2010.
  • 99% of boys and 94% of girls under 18 play games
  • Call of Duty grossed $400m in 24 hours and $1 billion in 2 weeks.
  • Forecasts call for $1.6 billion in gamification by 2015 and $2.8 billion by 2016

The idea behind linking gaming and business is that gaming offers users so many benefits in terms of engagement, productivity, creativity, etc.  If applied to business, this could dramatically improve worker productivity.  Dr. McGonigal showed a Gallup survey that showed 71% of U.S. workers are actively disengaged at work.  This means they show up for work, go through the motions, but don’t do much else.  They feel their skills are not used properly, they have no impact on the business, etc.  This costs businesses $300 billion in lost productivity.

So how does gaming help here?  Dr. McGonigal quoted somebody as saying, “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”  So work and play are not mutually exclusive.  You can combine the two and get fantastic results.  She offers lots of examples, but here is one of my favorite ones.

Scientists have been working on trying to figure out how to fold certain proteins that would dramatically impact medicine.  This folding mechanism is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with a thousand sides instead of six.  Traditionally, supercomputers are required to solve these problems.  Some scientists turned this into an online game and invited gamers to take a stab at this problem.  Initial results showed that through the game, online users working cooperatively could solve the folding problems and outperform the supercomputers.  In a recent study published in the journal Nature, gamers unlocked in 10 days a protein folding problem that has been worked on for over 10 years.

I can’t do justice to all the valuable information that Dr. McGonigal shared with us.  I encourage you to look at her research, buy her book and learn about this important topic.



Thoughts on “Gartner PCC – Reality is Broken and Gaming”

  1. The most typical blunder is to set up your company on a personal profile and you see this a whole lot on Facebook. It can be simple to spot due to the fact you have pals as an alternative of ‘likes’. Individual profiles are for men and women and they have pals, pages are for companies which men and women can then like.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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