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management, it doesn’t make sense to choose a studio that specializes in first-person shooters.


Sophisticated information technology, abundant human capabilities, a growing appreciation of engagement, and the desire for discovery have created a foundation for utilizing games to tackle intractable problems and achieve big changes. But gaming requires more than business leaders interested in adding experience points and digital merit badges to individuals who answer the most emails. It requires an investment of time and resources from a panoply of contributors—scientists, researchers, visionaries, futurists, game designers, game developers, game testers, gamers themselves, citizens, media, political leaders, informed business leaders, artists, science fiction writers, popular science writers, universities, academia, lobbyists, and educators. The gaming community has a responsibility to advocate for games and provide educational opportunities; likewise, business leaders have a responsibility to look beyond stereotypes and learn what games have become—a valuable tool for learning, communicating, and collaborating around important goals.

When well designed, games can not only be extremely adept at explaining complex systems but also motivate people to play using a wide variety of game design tricks. These same tricks can also be used to motivate and reward employees and partners who optimize the core components of the underlying business.

It’s up to each organization to grasp just how powerful serious games are—and make the most of them. Game on!


architecture: how a game is designed

experience: the flow of the game, what the user encounters through gameplay

genre: a category of game (e.g., puzzle, role play, strategy)

platform: web-based, mobile, console, downloadable executable


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Harrington HJ. 1991. Business Process Improvement: The Breakthrough Strategy for Total Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hopkins MS, Kruschwitz N, LaValle S, Lesser E, Shockley R. 2010. Analytics: The New Path to Value. MIT Sloan Management Review Research Report, vol 52. Cambridge MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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