Gamification: The Future of Work Is Play


“Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the industrial age – our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value – Pat Kane. 

The new world of workplace culture + productivity is blend between work & play. If you think that ‘gamers’ are unproductive, think again.

An estimated one billion people spend at least one hour every day playing computer and video games. Why is it that people put more effort into these games than their day jobs or personal relationships? The latest book, published from a study by global media and communications agency PHD, explores “gamification” and how a point system is responsible for encouraging higher levels of engagement and deeper employee collaboration.

We were listening to Rob Young, Senior VP Director of Insights/Analytics, PHD, at Dx3 conference talk about the power of gaming in the workplace and broader society. To better understand why a global media agency like PHD would be interested in game mechanics for its business, Young began by comparing the “mountain of engagement of gaming to the amount of non-engagement in the workplace”. Stats backed up his arguement that 81% of employees are ‘not engaged’ which costs globally $3.1 trillion per year. Businesses need to consider that 7 billion hours by 1 billion gamers is what’s up for grabs in the “Engagement Economy”. It’s argued that if businesses can harness even a fraction of the sort of engagement witnessed in gaming, the rewards will be incalculable.

PHD has evolved the agency’s global planning system, Source, into the largest enterprise gaming system, involving more than 1,750 staff in over 70 countries playing and collaborating on a leaderboard during every work day. Source has injected a gaming element into the way teams tackle daily business challenges, empowering them to realise their true potential. It’s fuelling collaboration with global counterparts-engagement-along with a core element of gaming: fun.

“Game Change” is co-authored by game designer Jane McGonigcal and PHD’s worldwide strategy and planning director, Mark Holden. Jane points out that innovative systems like Source empowers employees to gamefully tackle daily challenges that excite and interest them most, helping them to realise their strengths, which in turn creates significant improvements in employee engagement and output. Successful examples of gamification in practise are further explored in Game Change including Nike, Guinness and Heineken


Writer – Shannon Lewis, Liberty & Co.

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