Blonde, vivacious and sporting some very chic tan high boots, Jane McGonigal, PhD is out to save the world through gaming. At first glance this sounds preposterous. However, research on gaming and how it positively affects the brain whilst motivating and engaging users is becoming more and more common. The really exciting stuff comes in when we think about how we can utilize the positive qualities that games inspire in order to solve real world problems such as illness, environmental issues and the grave realities facing our society that are requiring less tact and more creativity. Read on for some of the gaming facts that will change the way you think about playing.
Did you know that Angry Birds is more powerful, and reaches more people than Facebook? And what does this fact tell us about the influence games hold? Games, philosophy, psychiatry, sociology…it appears that Jane McGonigal convinced just about everyone in the WIFNY audience that games need to be a part of work. “Gamers spend 80% of their time failing,” she announced. What kind of effect does that have on resilience? Problem solving abilities? On innovation? McGonigal also affirmed that it is “the happiness of pursuit which yields pleasure in gamers, not the rewards.” How different is this psychology from the one we use to motivate employees?
Jane McGonigal challenged our audience in New York to consider very seriously games and their influence, and how they can be included in the workplace. According to McGonigal, USD 300 billion in productivity is lost each year because 71% of U.S. employees are unengaged; they simply don’t care. “And this is only the cost of productivity!” She exclaimed. Just imagine the cost if we could calculate what it meant for innovation, because you can’t have innovation if people don’t care:
“What’s up for grabs in the engagement economy?”
McGonigal suggests using the ten positive emotions:
joy, relief, love, surprise, pride, curiosity, excitement, awe and wonder, contentment and creativity
in the workplace, and apply them to problem solving and to innovation. “The opposite of play isn’t work – its depression.” After all, isn’t it all easier when you are having fun?