The computer games industry has grown steadily over the last 40 odd years. The expansion of accessible platforms, the increase in pure computing power, the social gaming revolution on mobile; all significantly expanding the reach and the use of games for diversion and enjoyment. And the enjoyment aspect is crucially important– after all, that is the sole purpose of games – to stimulate enjoyment, to provide an escape from reality, to have fun!

In contrast to this, ever since the industrial revolution, we have been brought up to understand that work is serious and play is separate. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all.” So any idea that the two might co-exist is an alien truth.

However, as the demography of the workplace changes and we see generations that have grown up with games just being there, there is finally a real opportunity at hand to change the idea that work and games can’t complement each other.

Business is designed around functional processes. We have huge amounts of automation; spreadsheets abound and most of the process is tuned and then re-tuned to deliver efficiency, cost reduction, performance. The real problem with this approach is that in tuning for increased efficiency, we often tune out the ‘human’ element.

Our processes almost always make the assumption (if they are people delivered processes) that people WILL do what is determined. And this is often where the processes fall down and truly lack efficiency because what we should be doing is thinking about how we can encourage people to WANT to do whatever is needed.

This is called ‘human centred design’ and it is being very successfully applied to how we journey through websites, how customers buying experiences take place and other areas. But it has yet to be fully embraced in the day to day processes that we use to run our businesses.

And this is where we can learn from the gaming industry. They have 40 odd years of experience of designing for fun, driving the intrinsic motivators that create truly long term engagement. By embracing this human centred design approach to process, not only can we achieve efficiency but we can make it fun!

Efficient processes that people WANT to use? – now that’s 21st century thinking!