To Gamify or Not to Gamify

To Gamify or Not to Gamify

That is the question.

Gamification is a hot topic nowadays.  In conversation I’m seeing people reaching blindly towards gamification the same way they stumbled towards social media five years ago.  To many, gamification is something that they’ve heard about people doing successfully and so they want it.

Pint the Tail on the DonkeyThe surge in interest in games reminds me of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  A little silly to watch, but everyone genuinely wants to succeed.  The other interesting dynamic is that I’m not sure anyone can see the donkey yet.  While we are working closer and closer to understanding how to do this, it seems to be a field that includes elements connecting game designers, educators, and marketing professionals and thus one which our incongruous education system of silo-ed study has not created an environment conducive to cross disciplinary understanding and action.  Some might disagree on this point, but I’d point out that in order to design effective games you need to understand systems theory, game design, psychology, math, sociology, etc.

But back to the topic at hand.  In the past years candy, and other ‘junk food’ companies offered games to their consumers on their websites.  I expect that they were seeking to get traffic to their websites.  The games that I’ve seen often have little to do with the brand, but there in the background was the logo.  M&M’s does this with a shuffleboard game, for example.  The point is obviously engagement since you don’t need to play a game to open a bag of M&M’s.  Connecting your product to an enjoyable experience is a good idea and one that came naturally and early to that sector. Continue reading “To Gamify or Not to Gamify”

Women & Spirit in Business

Triskele Circle

During my studies at Goddard College they encouraged us to spend time looking at who we were.  During that time I felt that I became more deeply connected with my spiritual side, beginning to live it as my life more and more every day.

Years later I find myself continually drawn to increasing my connection with my own spirituality and  making sure that this has a front and center place with the work that I am doing.  It is important to me that my work increases my connection with my spirituality and that my spirituality brings to my work benefits as well.

It was as this connection deepened that the conversation around forming Women & Spirit in Business began with Karen Ribeiro, Shalini Bahl, and Val Nelson while sitting around a table at Essalon Cafe in Hadley.  Continue reading “Women & Spirit in Business”

Sharing Knowledge

At the recent PVGrows Forum one of the speakers reflected that he was there to share his knowledge so that others wouldn’t have to bump their heads into walls the way that he had to learn.  This is a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed in socially responsible business circles for years, but something about the frank way in which this was shared inspired me to write about it.  Continue reading “Sharing Knowledge”

Marry me.

Marry me: Why you should be transparent as a company.

The culture of your business should reflect transparently in the decisions that you make everyday.  Why?  Because as a business you are trying to develop a strong relationship with the consumer.  In any relationship who lets a Non-transparent person into their life for long? As soon as you realize that Wally Martin isn’t telling the full truth, it is a potentially fatal issue. What about WalMart?

Are you holding your companies accountable for their actions in the same way you hold  others accountable?

The culture of our businesses is created by people not machines and is therefore controllable and changeable.  Understanding that every action has a reaction (the law of thermodynamics) is the most scientific way of explaining that our choices and policies in business affects the people who work there, the product that are produced, the quality, the success, etc. etc. etc.

So think about it.  Be clear.  Be transparent.  Be a company that you’d want to marry.

Gender or common sense?

Recently while reading The Harvard Business Review blog I came across a post on the influence of women in Norwegian boardrooms. I found the blog interesting, however, I feel that there are some important points and distinctions that were overly generalized or not quite fully thought out.

First, I feel that when talking about a situation it is too generalized to say ‘women’ or ‘men’. More appropriately this gender barrier can show challenges that we all go through. So instead of looking at how ‘women’ handle a situation such as entering a board, can’t we identify certain leadership styles or approaches and how they are best worked with? I say this because there are men that embody characteristics that are traditionally thought to be feminine and vice versa.

Considering the section that begins “most women need support to enter the board successfully…” Does that mean that women need support but men don’t? Shouldn’t most people get support when entering a board. I remember from my studies that a common cause of problems within boards was that they weren’t made fully aware of their duties or expectations beforehand. To me this indicates that all board members should be supported when they join in any effort regardless of gender.

How do you feel about gender generalization? What I mean is making broad statements that apply to all women or men.

More than Founder’s Syndrome.

Recently in discussion over a particularly difficult organization issue, I was told that “what we have is more than founder’s syndrome.”

FrustrationThe founder in question had recently admitted to thinking that he had Founder’s Syndrome with another steering committee member. The two had been in discussion about the negative behaviors for months before this admission came about.

What does that mean? Founder’s Syndrome describes the behaviors of a founder that negatively effect an organization. The specific behaviors range in severity, but their impact holds an organization back, often because change and growth are stifled.

For example, statements in steering committee meeting such as “I’m going to do what I want to do, because I want to do it” were not rare. Those statements typically arose almost any time the founder was asked to share more information about plans made or actions taken without the consent of the rest of the steering committee. Pullinghairout

Actions such as taking over duties that were assigned to others, happened frequently. This resulted in duplicated efforts and additional time needing to be spend ‘cleaning up the mess’ as one steering committee member phrased it. In one case, the founder’s email to a donor that someone else was working with resulted in a check for $100 when the potential was $1000 plus media support.

Needless to say these actions as well as many others by the same person were frustrating to the other organization leaders.

eatingcomputerFounder’s Syndrome is a typical problem in any small organization (and even some larger ones.) The energy and exuberance that helps to launch an organization are not necessarily the same qualities that continue its success once it is time to build more structure and organizational capacity. Change is difficult, throw into the mix someone who is incredibly passionate and may feel ownership over the organization, and you have a mess. How big is the mess? Well that depends on how the change and transition are managed and how difficult the founder.

While it always results is some kind of limit of capacity, in some cases Founder’s Syndrome can result in the failure of the organization. So, is it really possible to have ‘more than founder’s syndrome?’