Widgets Magazine

Need A Team Member? Add a Gamer

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to attend a Q&A event for Felicia Day,Aeos new book You,Aeore Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). As a fan of her work, and others in the nerd culture that similarly push the concept of be you and love the things that touch you, this was a fantastic experience. What I didn,Aeot know at the time was that I was going to get introduced to a new, to me, psychology author that focuses her efforts on the gaming community and the impact of games on people,Aeos lives.
Jane McGonigal was a fantastic hostess for the Q&A with Felicia Day, but learning about her background instantly drew me to start reading the work that she has published. Her first book, Reality Is Broken, hit on some very unique views about how productive gamers can be, their collective capacity to achieve significant results, and, most interestingly, their immense ability for collaboration.
In the book there are certain theories introduced about how games are things that people do in order to escape, but not necessarily in the way that we traditionally expect. Rather than going on the traditional stereotype that gamers are escaping their reality to live a world that is more favorable to their visions for the success they seek, McGonigal proposes that gamers found that the work that they were doing in game was much more enjoyable and gave greater feedback and satisfaction than the work that the gamers were being paid for in the real world. Essentially, they were escaping into a world that gave a more reasoned and better response to the efforts that were put in to reach a specific goal.
You can take whatever issues you wish with that overly simplified synopsis of one very small part of the book, but it has some pretty interesting fundamental psychology behind it; especially when you consider the fact that in many cases these groups of people are volunteering to spend their time working together with people to achieve a common goal by conquering specific levels or villains in game.
In some of these massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) each player will choose a specific class of character. That character will have certain given abilities that the player can then choose to hone based on what specialties they wish to pursue. These games are specifically designed for people to be able to accomplish earlier missions alone as they learn the ropes and develop their skills. As the players progress the game starts to hand out more and more difficult tasks, some of which require teams of people to collaborate with each serving a specific role in order to aid the team and move forward to the next challenge until the task is complete. Sounds a lot like a project team, doesn,Aeot it?
Late in the book there,Aeos a chapter specifically on the idea of ,AeuCollaboration Superpowers,Aeu and how gamers are developing these at a faster rate than many others out there due to the fact that they aren,Aeot just doing them in forced environments, like an office or classroom, but rather volunteering to exercise these muscles on a regular basis online. I would argue this gives this group of skilled workers a specific advantage in that through their collaborations they have a stronger understanding of how to differentiate between the individual tasks and how they contribute to the larger goal at hand ,Aei they understand how to recognize their role in the bigger picture.
McGonigal defines collaboration as ,Aeuas special way of working together,,Aeu requiring ,Aeuthree distinct kinds of concerted effort: cooperating (acting purposefully toward a common goal), coordinating (synchronizing efforts and sharing resources), and cocreating (producing a novel outcome together).,Aeu It,Aeos a pretty clear and concise definition that hits all the major points that are so often preached about the set goals of working together in team. So, if today,Aeos workplace is based on the teams working together in order to achieve greater success, wouldn,Aeot the first skill on your list be based on having someone that knows how to work together in that environment?
They psychology involved throughout the book goes through some interesting paths about the effects that games can have to improve the quality of life for those that are struggling with overcoming both physical and mental diseases. Humanity has used games to overcome strife since its origins. It,Aeos believed that games may have altered our social conditioning to the point that even infants have an immediate understanding of fair play. Games have taught us as kids about numbers and colors. Games teach us how to strategize and think about things in more than one way in order to achieve a given outcome. Is it such a stretch that they also can reveal those that understand how to work together in collaborative environments?
If you want to bring that team player to your organization, why not direct your attention to someone that actively participates in team activities on a regular basis?

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