[Note: This is a follow-up to a post I wrote yesterday, which you can find here. Based on the comments, tweets and messages I've received, I felt it was worth adding this little coda. And I wanted an excuse to link to one of Joe Cocker's fabulous versions of the Beatles song.]
There are many gratifying things about my job: one of the most enjoyable aspects is that I get to meet a lot of people and to listen to what they have to say, to learn from those conversations, to distil and refine that learning.
When people have come and engaged me in conversation about gamification, there’s been a lot of passion about the whys and wherefores and why nots.
And a little wistfulness.
You see, the hype made it sound as if gamification was a knight in shining armour come to rescue the damsel in distress, the drudgery of work. And while they knew this was somewhat unlikely, they hankered after it. They wanted work to be fun.
This is what prompted me to speak about “not putting the lipstick of gamification on the pig of work.”
If work sucked, we needed to fix that. It wouldn’t happen through superficial tools and techniques. It needed something far more drastic.
I’ve always enjoyed work, even when I’ve fouled up, even when things haven’t gone the way I’d have like them to go. Because I see everything as a learning experience, and, quite often, I learn more from my mistakes than I do from my successes. Esther Dyson used to sign off her emails with “Always Make New Mistakes”, a principle I love.
So for the wistful among you, here’s one way to make work fun by borrowing techniques from gamers and the gaming industry, a “gamification” that requires radical changes to be made to the workplace.
Like getting rid of the blame culture. What if we could move to a world where Edison’s “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that do not work” is implemented as a work principle?
Some games give you the facility to pause and resume later, some give you the facility to record and replay. [Now this tends to be more common in single- and dual-player games than in MMORPG, for obvious reasons. But the principle remains valid].
What if we could pause, resume, record, replay work? What if someone else (peer, mentor, leader) could sit with you and say “You see this? You see where you went wrong? Here’s how to do it next time round” ?
You know something? We’re not far from such a time and place. Activity streams have their supporters and their detractors, but one thing is sure: they’re here to stay. And, if we learn to use them properly at work, then we’re going to start seeing early versions of activities that can be frozen and resumed, started and stopped, saved and replayed.
If we do it right, that’s the end of the blame culture.
With a little help from my friends.