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Gamification for Business

Why Innovators and Changemakers Use Games to Break Down Silos, Drive Engagement and Build Trust

By Sune Gudiksen, Jake Inlove
13-minute read
Audio available
Gamification for Business by Sune Gudiksen, Jake Inlove

Gamification for Business (2018) explores how businesses can use games to overcome organizational challenges and optimize performance. Drawing on their extensive experience in game design and innovation, Sune Gudiksen and Jake Inlove show how games can be leveraged to encourage teamwork, boost employee motivation, and map out new pathways for progress and change. 

  • Businesses seeking to iron out organizational problems and spur innovation
  • Educational institutions looking for new ways to inspire and engage students
  • Anyone needing a creative boost to hatch new ideas

Sune Gudiksen is an associate professor of design and innovation management at Design School Kolding in Denmark and the founder of the Biz Games community platform. Jake Inlove holds a master’s degree in Education Science from the University of Aarhus and is a game designer and innovation consultant. Together, they founded Gamebridges, a company that creates business games to help organizations stimulate innovation. 

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Gamification for Business

Why Innovators and Changemakers Use Games to Break Down Silos, Drive Engagement and Build Trust

By Sune Gudiksen, Jake Inlove
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Gamification for Business by Sune Gudiksen, Jake Inlove
Synopsis

Gamification for Business (2018) explores how businesses can use games to overcome organizational challenges and optimize performance. Drawing on their extensive experience in game design and innovation, Sune Gudiksen and Jake Inlove show how games can be leveraged to encourage teamwork, boost employee motivation, and map out new pathways for progress and change. 

Key idea 1 of 8

Games facilitate learning and level the playing field. 

Think back to when you were a child and the games you used to play. Maybe you had a favorite toy that accompanied you on imaginary expeditions through blistering winds and scorching deserts, or a castle built entirely from Lego. Or maybe getting lost in the trees in a game of hide-and-seek was more your thing. 

Whatever these weird and wonderful games were, they helped you learn and develop through tactile experiences and actions. 

This learning-by-making is sometimes referred to as constructionism, a term coined by MIT professor Seymour Papert and entrepreneur Idit Harel. According to their research, combining multiple senses – for example, seeing and touching – helps us to process and absorb information better.

This is what happens in games. Often, we’re given physical objects – like colorful cards or game pieces that we have to maneuver or arrange – and scenarios that force us to think outside the box. In short, we learn and get better by doing.

That’s why games are useful to businesses: they help employees build new skills and create an environment in which they can explore and formulate new ideas. 

Games can also help to shake up the usual hierarchy of an organization and create a space where people can meet on a level playing field. Imagine being part of a soccer team. When you’re out on the field, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do for a job – all that matters is your ability and willingness to play.

This is what gamification experts Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman refer to as a magic circle. When we play games, we become part of a new reality where different social rules apply. Games pull us out of our usual ways of operating, allowing us to move in and out of different roles and imagine new ways of working. 

As the authors explain, businesses often squeeze the fun out of meetings and training sessions, creating a stale environment that lacks creativity. Why? Because they believe play isn’t a productive way to help employees learn and acquire new skills. 

But as the following blinks will show, using games can help businesses solve an array of organizational problems and yield multiple rewards. 

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