Make work a game

DRJasonFoxSenior Workplace Correspondent Craig B sacrificed hours of his life to bring us back a report from the frontlines of corporate motivation. Dr Jason Fox is an interesting guy who is promoting his thesis that we need to motivate people by making work itself motivational in the same way that people are motivated to spend hundreds of hours working through a game. It’s an interesting idea that’s easy to dismiss, but is really worth some serious contemplation.

On its face it’s one of those ‘of course’ things. Rather than fighting the fact that workers (and students) would rather be playing a game than doing work or study, change the nature of the work to make it as rewarding as playing a game. That might seem hard to do, but even mundane tasks can be made more rewarding by attacking them in a social team – which is one of the big drawcards of the massive multiplayer games. Giving people positive reinforcement to keep them going, not constraining their outcomes, all of these are elements in modern game design. There’s no question that the huge games are finely engineered to keep people playing them; so, if nothing else, piggy-backing on all that research and effort can’t be a bad idea – they are successful for a reason.

It’s certainly worth thinking about. Dr Fox has a website, a book, videos and one hell of a beard.

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