Games in the city: CIO’s get serious

Published on Monday 9 July 2012 by in News with no comments

At the Dutch annual conference ‘Games in the City’, CIOnet organized a session for CIOs to explore the relevance of gaming and gamification.

The moderator for the session was Carla Hoekendijk, who was responsible for setting up the study ‘Game Development’ informatica at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam. She opened with a statement from Gartner:

By 2015 more than 50% of organizations involved in process optimization will use gamification, the trend in using game mechanics in non-gaming environments’. Carla went on to emphasize the growth and importance of serious games or ‘applied games’, using them for innovation, motivation, training and organizational change processes.

Peter Warman, CEO Newzoo, presented some global figures showing the explosive growth in gaming, particularly on how mobile phones and televisions will be utilized in a big way in the near future to exploit the growth in gaming.

Arnold Koning, Program manager Online at the Rijkswaterstaat explained how gaming has been used as an ‘Activation’ strategy to engage and involve the public on-line. There is currently an investigation into using gaming and facebook to engage with the public, recognizing the huge growing role of social media in both the private and business domains.

Jan Schilt, CEO of GamingWorks brought the subject back to the context of IT organizations, showing international examples of how games had been used for knowledge transfer, team building, developing new skills and helping realize culture change within organizations such as ING, Heineken and TNT Post. He explained how ING had run more than 100 Apollo 13 business simulations to stimulate team working, learn new ‘desirable behavior’ and to empower people to capture their own improvement suggestions. 
This prompted the CIO in declaring ‘Programs like this business simulation stimulate the right behavior within IT helping drive the cultural changes needed to reach our strategic objectives’. Another CIO who took part in a CIOnet gaming eventlast year, was Jan Peter de Valk, CIO DHL in the Benelux who took part in the Grab@ Pizza simulation ‘“I can see exactly what happens! It is a great game for developing IT and business awareness in terms of what alignment means, and what happens when it isn’t effective.” The simulation gave executives direct insight into actions they could take away and apply. Jan showed how simulations had been used as part of an ‘ITSM Extreme make-over’ project in the USA at the University of Texas Health Science center. Measures we took as part of the simulation engagement showed the current traditional ‘Implementation’ approach and ITIL certification wasn’t delivering results. CIO Jerry York stated

This business simulation empowers our employees to translate the WHAT of ITSM to processes andactivities. This gives us faster acceptance and quicker integration of the processes in our employee’s day-to-day work. It  shows us exactly what we need to do in order to stop running and start implementing a controlled and repeatable way of working’.

One conclusion reached during the discussions was that a serious, or applied game, is not a product you can simply buy. It requires embedding in a ‘Before’, ‘During’ and ‘After’ set of activities and responsibilities to ensure the game helps meet specific learning objectives and develop the desired changes in attitude and behavior. What is learnt needs to be transferred into the live working environment and the impact and effect measured. This requires management commitment. A serious game requires serious attention but can deliver serious results.

Juanita Trots from the Dutch Tax authority, who is responsible for the ITSM Academy which provides education and training to 2000 IT employees, revealed how the Tax authority has launched a 6 month innovation initiative aimed at looking into how ‘Games’ can be used as learning instruments to improve the effectiveness of training.

Jan Schilt: ‘It was interesting to see how our presentation was received after presentations about games, apps, shooting… Our conclusions at the end of this session (Applied gaming):

  • Gaming is not playing against others, but with others.
  • From individual learning to applying in the day-to-day work.
  • It is important to focus on the ‘soft skills’ required to create buy-in, deal with resistance and create team working.
  • Gaming is becoming an important and powerful learning instrument, in both IT and business contexts.
  • Business simulations to learn new skills and social media and apps as instruments to support the transfer into the working environment can be a powerful combination to realizing business value.

Frits Bussemaker, Partner CIOnet. 

As CIOnet we see the first signs in the market that ‘gamification’ is going to be the next big thing for organisations. We’ve organized this event to make CIOs and IT leaders aware of the impact applied gaming and game mechanics will have on regular software development and knowledge transfer. We’re pleased to see that we have opened some eyes, started the discussion and that we already have requests to program gamification on next year’s calender”

Paul Wilkinson: ‘Very often we hear IT organizations say ‘Just give us the ITIL or ITSM training and the certificate, the simulation is simply nice to have not NEED to have’. However more and more organizations are discovering that simulations really are NEED to have when you want to create buy-in, overcome resistance and empower your people to translate theory into practice.’

ITP News: Gamification positioned to become one of the most important trends in Business

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