Gamification & Flow in Business 2/2

In my first post on this topic, the question came up, how a gamification approach can support flow states.

Let’s start to think about the environment. Take the environment of a console gamer, I’m sure you already have a picture in mind, how it looks like. Big Screen, comfortable chair or couch, dimmed lights, some soft drinks, high quality audio equipment, …
Would you say that’s an important factor to be able to give your best…to get in flow? Not sure? Let’s imagine a cold room, neon lights, no chair, just some pillows, small TV, lousy audio quality…what do you think about the chance to get in flow state, yet?

Now think about the importance of a business environment, would you agree that it is an essential starting point, especially when we talk about gamification to support getting into flow?

An other essential part is the way you make, see and feel progress. Often we talk about the importance of feedback. Especially in management, feedback means most of the time talking to each other.
Think about a free climber, do you think the feedback given by colleagues is the most essential part to be successful? Or is it more the inner voice and your feeling that you progress that makes you confident to be successful?

From my point of view there’s no doubt about the importance of feedback, but what about progress, your own progress? Isn’t that more important? Can you progress without feedback?
Think about extrem sport athletes practicing something new, probably they fail quite often and it’s probably hard to see any progress from outside. What feedback would you give in such a case?
A successful athlete will she trying again and again and again… until she gets it. Do you think she feels progress during practicing, even if she’s still failing?
As an other example think about a programmer coding day and night, without the possibility to see the overall result, but having the result in mind and knowing each line of code is an essential step to the overall success. Will she feel progress, even when feedback from outside is missing?

So, could we say there’s a possibility to give feedback to yourself, just based on your imagination – or in other words, your own feeling of progress, even if it doesn’t look like progress from outside?

What’s your experience how the business world is dealing with the importance of environment and, let’s call it „inner progress“? How are games dealing with it.

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Gamification and Flow in Business 1/2

In the book „Rise of Superman“, Steven Kotler describes in an amazing way what flow means and what you are able to achieve in this state. If we’re talking about good online, PC or console  games, you would probably agree with me, that the best games are the games that make you forget about time and keep you engaged by constantly harder but appropriate challenges. Right?

Now Gamification in business is about transfering this feeling in a non game context to strengthen employee engagement and work quality. Or easier bringing more fun to work related tasks.

Today, most commonly it’s used in less complex business processes with well measured KPIs. It’s getting harder to implement, if it comes to more complex processes with more brain work involved and softer goals for improvement.

So as it’s already tough to bring flow to a game, it seems to be even harder to force flow in a business environment.

Is it possible in business? In an environment with clear boundaries? With quite a lot of challenges, not well fitting into a level design?

Let’s have a closer look to a developer. Would you agree, that some developments and correlated challenges are able to get you in  a flow state? I think so.

Ok then the question is, how does such an environment and related tasks look like? How are they structured?
…and can a gamification approach force to more likely get in a flow state?

For example, watch a free climber running up a wall of pure stone or any other kind extrem sport and you’ll most probably see situations that you couldn’t imagine as possible before.

Now imagine what potential could be unleashed in the enterprise world, if we’re able to force a state of flow more often.

–more thoughts to follow–


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Let’s play with some thoughts on digital disruption, new leadership styles and startup culture.

This blog provides you a view on these topics and answers the following questions.

  • What do these topics have in common?
  • Are they somehow connected to each other?
  • At its core it’s about motivation, happiness and success, isn’t it?
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