Wish Work Felt More Like Play? Don’t Miss the Next Episode of ‘Future of X’

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Why you should care

Because nothing teaches you how to fail, and fail better, than a game.

In a new five-part podcast, in partnership with Smartsheet, OZY paints a picture of the workplace to come, from productivity and privacy to social enterprise and the rise of gamification. Listen up on OZY.com, Spotify, Apple or wherever you prefer to stream your audio.

What if we told you that your work could be as fun as playing a game? And for every successful task you complete or goal you reach, you would score a hundred points or unlock a new tool or reach a new level?

This season on The Future of X, OZY is digging into the future of the workplace. In the latest episode, we look at what the future of work might look like if it were a bit more engaging and fun. If it were more like … a game.

Employee engagement at work — or lack thereof — is a huge problem. “The average employee is currently productive for about three to four hours a day,” says Mark Stevenson, a futurist and the author of An Optimist’s Tour of the Future, “and 85 percent of employees are disengaged with their work.”

As a gamer, I know that I’m just not going to be good at everything until I do it several times.

Keisha Howard, CEO of Sugar Gamers

But there is something else that people almost universally enjoy: play. Human beings intrinsically learn through play, says Keisha Howard, the CEO and founder of Sugar Gamers, a gaming platform focused on elevating new and diverse voices in gaming and tech. “Gamification is something that I believe just comes naturally to us all. … And as human beings it allows us a very quick way to relate to one another.”

Howard says that one of the places that gaming environments can help improve our collaboration skills is in the workplace. It can also help us with something that regular gamers know all about: losing. “In life, in order to level up, in order to quickly solve problems, you have to be ready to take a loss,” Howard adds. 

And when you’re playing a game, you can make mistakes and lose over and over again, without losing confidence. “As a gamer,” says Howard, “I know that I’m just not going to be good at everything until I do it several times.”

This episode’s Future Tip? Don’t ask us. Ask Alexa. Or Siri. Or Google, or whichever intelligent assistant you have at your beck and call. The more you use these smart devices, and the more you pay attention to how you are communicating with them, the more powerful their tools and applications become. Remember, this is machine learning at its core! The way most of us currently ask Siri a question right now is similar to when we used to open up a browser and type h-t-t-p-colon-backslash-w-w-w-dot-ask-dot-com — and THEN type in a full sentence, like “How do I format my résumé?” It was mind-blowing, for those of us who remember it. But now? We just open any browser we want and type the letters r-e-s-u and the AI auto-fills it to “résumé template.” Try different approaches when you speak to your voice assistant so both it and you can start to learn each other’s vernacular and communicate more clearly.

Check out the latest episode of The Future of X: The Workplace to learn more about how, as we lose more — and fail — through games, we can slowly improve ourselves and the performance of the organizations we work within. Now available on OZY and all podcast platforms.

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