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How to use 'World of Warcraft' strategies to get ahead in business

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Posted Sep 28 2012 03:34 PM

Enterprise Games author Michael Hugos offers some great tips and tricks lifted from game techniques for application to that which happens IRL.

1) TIP: A game is an engagement engine – it attracts and engages players. You can measure the success of a game by the number of players it attracts and the level of engagement it gets from players. Think of a business also as engagement engine – it attracts and engages customers and employees. You can measure its success by the number of customers and enthusiastic employees it attracts. Now think of games that attract you and why – what ideas does this give you for using game mechanics in your own business?

2) TRICK: The key element to creating a game is a real-time feedback system that shows people what the score is and whether their actions are taking them closer to or further away from the goal. Games attract players through excitement created by this moment-to-moment feedback. Companies can attract customers and enthusiastic employees through excitement created by showing them what is happening in their business activities in real-time or near real-time and then giving them reasons to care about the outcome.

3) BEST PRACTICE: There are three necessary conditions to create a feedback system and generate excitement in a company or business activity: 1) Real-time or near real-time visibility of relevant data for everyone involved – this is technology; 2) Authority to act within predefined rules to accomplish predefined goals is delegated to everyone involved – this is process; and 3) A stake in the outcome for everyone involved so everyone is motivated to act and continue to improve as situations change – this is people.

4) TIP: The use of video game engines to create 3D animation can help people understand and respond to big data. Traditional 2D methods of displaying data in static line graphs, bar charts and scatter plots are unable to keep up with or capture the complexity of real-time big data. Moving 3D objects using size, shape, speed, color, texture and sound can portray continuous streams of big data in a format humans already understand by engaging our senses of sight and sound just as a 3D animated movie does.

5) BEST PRACTICE: Increase your company’s ability to communicate and collaborate with customers, partners and employees by creating systems with features similar to those used in massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. Study the designs of heads-up display (HUD) screens used in popular MMOs such as World of Warcraft and EVE Online. MMOs already enable thousands of simultaneous game players to work together in teams, do detailed data analysis, and carry out complex missions requiring discipline and coordination between large groups of players with complimentary skills. Present business collaboration systems rarely go beyond document sharing and video conferencing. Next generation business collaboration systems can use 3D animation, avatars and virtual worlds to deliver levels of performance in business similar to what MMOs do for online game play.

6) TRICK: Quickly create prototype collaboration systems for business by leveraging user interfaces and features of existing social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Employ consumer IT devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and laptops to enable users to interact with each other. Use application program interfaces (APIs) defined by social media applications to provide secure data connections between these collaboration systems and selected in-house systems such as ERP, CRM, and HR. Use agile approach and get first version prototype systems into production as soon as possible, then keep experimenting with different mixes of features to see what works best.

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