Part 1 (of 3): Play
We love to play games. Games are inherent to being human, because at our core we like to have fun and we love to play. It’s natural. But for some reason, we tend to “grow up and get serious” when we go to work, leaving play at home. There have been conversations over the past several years about how to integrate games and play into work. We even have terms: serious games, gamification,and gameful learning experiences,among others. But there’s still little research into the return on investment (ROI) from using games for performance improvement. There are lots of results from application, however, and many people are associating gamification of consumer experiences with similar experiences in the workplace. For example, wearable technology like FitBit and Nike FuelBand has made engaging in healthy activity more fun and playful by assigning scores and badges and encouraging team play. Checking into places with Foursquare can be competitive as you vie for the mayorship of your favorite coffee shop; and with OpenTable, you can earn points and badges, as well as real rewards in the form of a check to redeem at participating restaurants. Sensors and the “Internet of Things” have led to gamification of a lot of our day-to-day activities, so it’s natural to extend the idea of gaming to work.