September 2010

Idea: Game Mechanics for Businesses

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In my last post I talked about how I would openly share some of my ideas. This is one of those half-baked ideas and like all of my ideas, it was cobbled together from a number of conversations I’ve had with a number of people.

Over the past year and in very infrequent intervals, I’ve been thinking about how a system could be created that would incent people to do things with non-monetary incentives, while at the same time, surfacing the creativity out of people all within a corporate setting. I’ve been thinking about how cool it would be if you could create a system that fundamentally changed the way corporate america works. A system that could change the internal processes, the reward systems, the compensations and the bonuses of business cultures, that from what I hear, simply suck. And I’m interested to see if this can all be done using game mechanics.

It’s been proven already that people do things when they feel a sense of reward and “sense” doesn’t necessarily mean dollars. Just look at all the people starting projects or donating to projects on Kickstarter. Look at all the people freely answering questions on Quora or StackOverflow. Look at all the people that build, and spend money on, ridiculous virtual items to build virtual farms in Farmville.

A common theme here is the use of non-monetary rewards systems. Game mechanics to influence a certain behavior.

So my thinking is, why can’t this same approach be used to influence certain behaviors in the corporate setting? Freeing the minds from the cubes and adding a healthy dynamic to the work at hand. Extracting the creativity and entrepreneurship out of everyone using some new rewards system. A new type of integrated consulting.

Am I on to something or should I go play Farmville?

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Share And Tell All Of Your Ideas

When I was younger I had all sorts of crazy business ideas and product inventions, but no one cared because I was young. It was child’s play. Fortunately, some of that inventiveness child’s play found an outlet with Legos. Yes, Legos.

As I got older, I would still have business ideas, inventions and other out-landish ideas, but the advice I got by many was “don’t tell anyone.” “You don’t want anyone to steal your idea.” This advice sometimes seeped through, but most of the time I never listened.  I could never understand how a great idea could ever achieve greatness without talking about it.  I imagined how hard it would be if you spent all of your time not talking about the idea. That by the time you were ready to pursue the idea, you’d already be mentally and emotionally drained from keeping it locked in your head for a long period of time.

In addition, I figured the more people I told the more feedback I would get, and perhaps I would reach a tipping point where more people would want to help and join the cause. Moreover, I thought that some feedback could actually make the idea better than the initial version, at which point, the idea would be something else completely. Something very different then the first idea and so all those who heard version 1, the outdated version, would have not heard version 2, the updated and improved version.

After watching Steven Johnson‘s video below (especially around min 11:40), my idea to share my ideas now seems like it was and is the right path.

Guess the point is, share and tell. I think I’ll be doing some more idea sharing on this blog in the future.

(And no NDAs)

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