The Art of the Game
In early May 2011, with a release featuring the words, "Projects may include . . . interactive games," the National Endowment for the Arts officially recognized interactive games as art for the first time ever.
The debate over whether games should be considered art has gone on for decades. According to Salary.com, the average salary for an artist is $47,319. Game Developer magazine suggests that the average salary for video game artist/animator is $71,354. The Smithsonian just announced an exhibit of video game art for 2012.
Video games have influenced the work of the artist, and now media artists can apply for federal grants for interactive games. Many of those pursing art as a career look to the video game industry for employment.
How might games influence other professions?
As MiXer Lauren Carlson suggests in her hack, "Is Gamification the Key to Adoption of Sales Force Automation Software?."
Gary Hamel suggests in Three Forces Disrupting Management that the web is now a part of the working lives of next -gen employees. "As a child of the digital age, the Web is the operating system for your life, the indispensable and unremarkable means by which you learn, play, share, flirt, and connect. Over the coming decades, these forces will mostly destroy management as we know it."
Highlighting a few other posts that draw from the world of games and play...
In their hack "The Organisation Structure as Free Market", the IMD Team #10 proposes, "a new system which works similar to the market for professional team sports players. In a cyclical process (we propose 2 years), managers can "advertise" jobs, employees can evaluate their job options and pick the most attractive one."
Mix Maverick Julian Birkinshaw, mentions a similar approach in his post, "When it comes to project work, casting is everything."
And Lori Cane, in "We're Creating a Self-Organizing Organization" touches on the same topic. "We're all leaders who bring our whole selves to our work. Nobody's in charge."
In "Equitable Hierarchy? Turn the Pyramid on its head", Hans Dieter Schulte submits "there is something profound and real about the way leaders are chosen and once chosen how they maintain power and hegemony. Allow employees to determine who will head the hierarchy."
Another game design element that's moving in to the workplace is personalization. Video games do an amazing job of personalizing the environment for each individual player. Scores, skills, leaderboards, puzzles, virtual assets, and community are all tuned for each individual player. In a well-designed game, everyone feels a personal connection with the game play. As we move forward in "management 2.0," employees should feel that same level of connection with their employer and/or their work. A few MiX'ers touched on that aspect of the future of work.
Felicia Simmons says, "Time is an important component to have. We often put aside the fifteen minute talk with our employees, because we feel we have so little of it. But, in reality, that fifteen minutes could save you days or weeks of wasted time later. Spend time with each of your employees and listen to what they have to say. Some of them will give you an insight to what they might appreciate."
And in "Sleeping your way to the Top", Jerann Nairu proposes, "An 'in house' facility that promotes relaxation and creativity - where employees can have a little 'ME' time to relax and recharge in sound proof cubicles for timed increments of up to an hour."
Statistically, it's a pretty safe bet that most readers know about Angry Birds. Most probably know more about it than they care to admit
So as we think more about taking the work out of work, it's great to see the National Endowment for the Arts recognize games. This is a trend that will continue across occupations, disciplines, and industries. It's a key component of Management 2.0, and something that's only natural as we move into the new millennium and a new way of working. In the words of the Entertainment Software Association, "As the generation that grew up with video games enters and assumes leadership positions in the work place, computer and video games are being increasingly used to conduct business."
As we slowly shed the vestiges of Industrial Era organizational design and rethink how work works, play begins to seem less like "entertainment" and more like a core ingredient of the art of work--and works of art.