Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Managers from good gamers?

I was listening to NPR on my commute today and there was a program on talking about museums struggling to be relevant and how they’re working to attract a new generation of guests/visitors through the use of some of the ideas that they believe have been behind the success of online games. Jane McGonigal from the Institute For The Future in Palo Alto, California is the person hosting the seminars talked about in the radio program on All Things Considered.

McGonigal says games make people happy — and she takes happiness very seriously. She's come up with four elements she believes we all need to be happy: satisfying work, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like, and the chance to be a part of something bigger. Games, she says, do all of these things.

The four elements she says are needed for a person to be happy that she believes are available in a successful game are hugely important for a good manager to be aware of and try and address on the job.

  1. Satisfying work (with set goals the player/employee is aware of)
  2. The experience of being good at something (with feedback on progress)
  3. Being with people we like
  4. Being part of something bigger than ourselves.

All of this really is important in a good online game and in a job. So, I’d be interested in knowing how many good managers have ever played any online games and if they find these truths to be true for them as well. I would guess quite a few managers would say that games are something they don’t have time for.

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