Can gaming REALLY change the world?

What a mind-bending thought this was when I read a book review by Rohit Bhargava of Dr. Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: How Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Save the World. Bhargava writes, “The basic premise of this book is that game mechanics are an intrinsic motivator for behaviour change simply because of how humans are wired. All people love games.” I wasn’t convinced, but I was intrigued and kept reading…here’s some of what I learned:

McGonigal directs games R&D at the Institute for the Future and is devoting her life’s work to harnessing the enormous time,  energy and skills now devoted to gaming (which at its core is problem-solving) and applying them to solving real-world problems. As I clicked one link after another to learn more about this, I found her website, Gameful, and her definition of the word gameful: “It means to have the spirit, or mindset, of a gamer: someone who is optimistic, curious, motivated, and always up for a tough challenge. It’s like the word “playful” — but gamier! Gameful games are games that have a positive impact on our real lives, or on the real world.”

Then I was astounded to find the following video of her compelling presentation to the prestigious TED audience (an organization devoted to spreading good ideas). We’ve included it below because it’s so thought provoking. Here is McGonigal’s goal in her own words: “Instead of providing gamers with better and more immersive alternatives to reality, I want all of us to be become responsible for providing the world with a better and more immersive reality.”

AvoLead professionals are trained to bring transformational change to organizations of all sizes, domestic and global. Call us to discuss ways that we might bring the power principles of gaming into your organization, so the world can be made better by what you offer.

Do you think this is crazy…fascinating…pie in the sky? We’d love to know.

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2 Responses to “Can gaming REALLY change the world?”

  1. What a transformative idea for using these technologies and attitudes constructively. And, it’s things we know about high functioning teams, right? Trust, purpose, collaboration, roles, support/feedback, challenge.
    What a find!
    And as we think about training and development for NextGen folks, understanding the technology is imperative.
    Thanks Elizabeth!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Sarah — the implications and ramifications are fascinating.

    I’m also interested to see other non-business initiatives to bring back “play” into our lives as a spiritual/mental health tool (NEW e-course and some thoughts on Play… | The Sophia Project http://bit.ly/h17WeR)

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