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Introduce Games to Work

Introduce Games to Work

LEE Sung-Ho

Aug. 31, 2012


Welcome to our video program. I'm Sung-Ho Lee from the Industry and Strategy Department I.

One neologism that is gaining some traction recently is “playbor,” a portmanteau of play and labor. Playbor means achieving productive goals while having fun, and leveraging human nature as Homo Ludens or “Man the Player.”

With the arrival of “digital natives,” i.e. those who have used the Internet since childhood, companies are adopting a strategy of “gamification” that uses games in the workplace. By integrating games with business, companies can encourage a spirit of voluntary participation and increased performance on the job. Global companies have been employing these strategies in various areas.

The first is the gamification of marketing.

Many companies including Coca Cola, Samsung Electronics, BMW and McDonalds are using games in which consumers can participate to improve brand recognition and loyalty.

BMW used a game application to promote its new model in Stockholm. Users used iPhones to find a virtual Mini car in a specific location and could “take it” when they got there. Anybody else using the app who came near the Mini holder could then take it away for themselves, in a game of smartphone tag. The person holding the virtual Mini when the game ended after one week won a real Mini countryman. The event was popular throughout the city and attracted more than 10,000 citizens.

Consumers that spend a lot of time in games develop attachments to the products in them, and game-based marketing makes product giveaways and discounts more effective.

The second is the gamification of experience-based services.

Nike introduced Nike+ consumers’ workout practices into games. For example, the game shows the actual distance the user covers on the map and lets the user set the next destination. It also lets users set actual competition groups and compete against others to reach final weight loss targets as if they are playing games. By inspiring people’s competitive instincts, the game prompts users to work out more.

Nissan’s CarWings helps drivers learn how to drive with fun, as the game assesses the driving efficiency of electric cars, which require different methods to drive from those with internal combustion engines.

The third is the gamification of social contribution.

In the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s “Freerice” game, for every question the user answers correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to famine-stricken regions, with the funds provided by sponsors. Since its launch in 2007, the number of grains surpassed 96 billion in June 2012.

Volkswagen has changed drivers’ habits with a game. A camera on the street automatically recognizes car license plates of those who observe speed regulations. Among the collected plate numbers, lots are drawn to provide the winner with prize money. Since the driver lottery game has been introduced, the average running speed decreased by 22%.

The last area in gamification is collective intelligence.

When people solve games together, they can get unexpected good results. Recently, games have been adopted for collective intelligence to generate knowledge and enhance achievements in research and development. As shown in the fact that a super computer cannot beat a human master go player, human beings excel at games which are based on numerous combinations of spaces. In the Phylo game, when a computer decodes DNA, gamers look for errors in the computer. About 20,000 people participated in the game and found some 350,000 errors in decoding.

Foldit, which is like a “3D Tetris game,” also harnesses collective intelligence. Players of Foldit have produced many research papers with one of them being introduced in Nature in 2011 to decipher the crystal structure of an AIDS-like monkey virus by making various combinations of chain structures of amino acids.

Nature registered the names of 57,000 players as the authors of the paper.

Korean companies now need to aggressively use gamification to improve corporate competitiveness. In particular, in IT convergence businesses which require voluntary engagement and behavioral change, including health management, education, culture and entertainment, companies need to introduce the “fun” factor of the gaming industry to find breakthroughs for new growth.

Thank you for watching. I'm Sung-Ho Lee.

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