Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trend three of five technology trends from SXSW 2011.

This is a continuation of my take on five technology trends that emerged from the 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Conference.  You can view all of the trends here.

3. Life's a game. And so is business, and education, and just about everything else.
Game mechanics. Game theory. Game architecture. Call it what you like, everyone was talking about adding game like functionality to businesses, applications, or web experiences.  And most claimed that this could make everything more successful, from social media, to business processes, to solving the nation's education ailments. I may not agree with the all the hype.  But the discussion did convince me that there is something to this idea that we as humans are hardwired to respond to challenges.  And that getting recognition for solving those challenges is very rewarding.  Why not make filling out your time sheets a game, if that would help make the task less painful?

Who was touting the gamification of everything?  Well there were the obvious players like Dennis Crowley.  Let's face it, his entire business (Foursquare) is based on the idea that life is a game.  And everywhere you go should help move you closer to a reward.  And he seems to have business plan that just might work; it involves giving small business owners new ways to engage more actively with their best customers, and to use those people to engage with new customers.  I felt it was my duty to figure out Foursquare while at SXSW (I know I'm behind) and it's a lot more fun (and a lot less creepy) than I expected.  Now, I'm even the mayor of my office and of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

I'll also call out the presentation of Stephen Anderson titled Long After the Thrill (Sustaining Passionate Users).  He suggested that bringing game theory into the business world can help keep customers returning to your business or web site.  He also suggested that the ideas of gaming could help companies retain employees and encourage them to be better workers.  His example? Something near and dear (or dreaded) to every employee of an ad agency: The time sheet.  Everyone at Anderson's presentation walked through the process of re-imagining the time sheet based on favorite games.  His examples of time sheet games were ingenious, including a simple solution that made tracking your time as easy and rewarding as popping bubble wrap.

I've already incorporated gaming ideas into solutions and ideas for my clients.  And it seems to work.  I'm guessing the world has just started its addiction to games.

No comments:

Post a Comment