I’ve had an excellent evening tonight in São Paulo at the launch of a new Brazilian book Gamification, Inc. – Como reinventar empresas a partir de jogos (How to reinvent companies with games). The book was written by Maurício Vianna, Ysmar Vianna, Bruno Medina and Samara Tanaka, and is available as a download via MJV Technology and Innovation who have published it (see www.mjv.com.br/noticias/mjv-convida-para-lancamento-livro-gamificationinc).
This was an opportunity for me to speak to the authors, all of who are a part of MJV Tecnologia & Inovação, including Maurício, their Global CEO. MJV have 300 employees and as well as Brazil, also operate in North America and Europe, with an office in London. An English version of the book is currently in production.
As I discussed with both Bruno and Samara, many of us have been involved in gamification long before the word was coined. For example, one of my projects at Genie Internet and BT Cellnet came about when the marketing team came to me asking for ideas on how to sex up their sponsorship of the first series of Big Brother in the UK. I only had a matter of weeks, and so rapidly set up a partnership to white label a SIM city type WAP game, one of the the first WAP games ever to launch. Through this game, players could also catch up with the latest Big Brother news, and that year the game became the most heavily used WAP application in the UK.
Things have obviously moved on from then, and for me was fantastic to celebrate the launch of a Brazilian book on Gamification, since until now only translated books have been available. It is extensive, and covers the following topics in detail:
- What is gamification?
- What you need to know about games
- Gamification in business
- Gamification and brands
- Putting gamification into practice
- The future of gamification
Gamification is not just about adding a gaming element to marketing campaigns. Much of the conversation tonight was around the transformation of businesses. Maurício discusses this in the preface when he says:
The structure and operational models of enterprises are still the same as those from the 19th century, based on hierarchies, bureaucracy and the specialization of labour in order to achieve economies of scale and efficiency. This paradigm requires clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and detailed processes which are based on command and control management, like those found in military organisations. In the modern world however, such assumptions limit the individual’s ability, the means by which he can reach and and commit to business objectives. Information technology has created the possibility to organize work differently – through the social dimension – and games are the platform that best fit as an instrument of this new order.
It was interesting talking to Bruno, as MJV are doing a lot work based around the redesign of call centres and the role gamification can play in this making them both more efficient and more humane and happy at the same time. It is interesting how interests converge, as I have also written recently about the limits of this outdated thinking, especially having been extremely impressed by the work of John Seddon who is revolutionising a move away from command and control structures in the UK (see Complexity, Flow, Mindfulness and Holonomic Thinking).
There were of course many interesting people at the launch, one of whom was Hans van Hellemondt who I had the pleasure to spend time talking to about his various projects, one of which is Battle of Concepts, an open innovation platform connecting young designers with businesses. Hans has also implemented many programmes which utilise gamification, and we talked at length about how games can change mental models, especially those of executives who are now struggling to cope with the complex realities we face today.
It really was a pleasure to meet the MJV team and I wish them all the very best with the launch of their new book. Gamification can play a key role in the transformation not only of businesses, but the social and natural ecosystems of which they are a part, as learning can be experiential, allowing people to connect on an emotional level through storytelling with the material and situations they are learning to master. The book will certainly be of interest not just to designers, but the wider business community, and on this point I can certainly recommend it as an interesting read.