Design for Engagement

What could video game design teach us about job design?

Design for Engagement
What could video games teach us about task design?

What could video games teach us about job design?

I find video games interesting, not because they are "fun" (most are), but rather because they represent the pinnacle of designed engagement. When you objectively look at most video games, they look like work. Ask any 10-year-old who plays Minecraft, "What are you working on?" They will be happy to tell you. In fact, you can talk to them like they are a project manager.

Most adults (and players) see Minecraft as a game, a sandbox. It is like digital Legos. I see a collaborative manifestation engine. You can call into existence - through work - nearly anything you can imagine. Even more interestingly, when you play with the system, you can discover new things to imagine.

I often wonder, what would it take for business leaders to think about their companies the way video game designers think about their games? Most dismiss it out of hand because of the packaging. Video games are fantastical, they are (mostly) made by artists, and of course, the objective is entertainment, not business.

However, the psychology of engagement does not change just because of pretty packaging. Video games have a number of practical, interesting lessons for leaders if they are willing to take a fresh look at something that has literally been hiding in plain sight.