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usiness should be fun. Making business fun can win more customers and help keep them for longer. And the way to make business fun is “gamification” or turning something that is not a game into a computer game. The key is reverse engineering what makes computer games effective and using it in your business. It is especially applicable to employee training. None other than the executive chairman of Google Inc, Eric Schmidt, said: “Everything in the future online is going to look like a multi-player game.” Companies such as Nike Inc, American Express Co, Microsoft Corp and Major League Baseball have used “game thinking” to increase customer and employee engagement and retention. In training, employees retain information and skills they acquire through game-based learning better than information and skills acquired through more conventional learning. With imagination, gamification and game-based learning can be used in many areas of the corporate world, such as product launches, service concepts, best practices, and the orientation and training of new employees. Computer games are still often dismissed as a fringe activity, of interest only to a small number of enthusiasts. So gamification may not be a helpful name. The word “game” means different things to different people. Usually, the word is associated with frivolity that has little or no productive purpose. But that is not what gamification is about. Gamification means using the mechanics of computer games in a serious context to engage players and solve problems.

purpose and the players must have one or more goals. The game must have rules and restrictions, and working within these limitations must motivate employees to face up to challenges by thinking creatively and strategically. Another important element is recognising the player’s actions and rewarding them, for example with scoreboards, scores, badges or prizes. And, most important of all, the players must be given feedback. Everyone needs feedback to tell us how near we are to reaching a goal. By following these principles and building motivation into all aspects of corporate culture, companies can achieve amazing results. A recent survey found that more than 500,000 people around the world play computer or video games for at least one hour a day. One-fifth of them are in China. It found that 47 percent of gamers are women. The results of the survey indicate that by 2015 half of all global organisations will be using gamification as their primary method of training employees. The results also indicate that by 2015 the global gamification market will be worth US$2.5 billion (MOP19.99 billion), and that it will double in size between 2012 and 2016. In the computer game industry, the main impetus for change comes from the “socialisation” of computer games, the result of playing online and the proliferation of portable electronic devices. This means training games can be played anywhere, at any time, becoming part of people’s lives. As telecommunications technology continues to evolve, new platforms, channels, and devices will redefine how companies use electronic media and their content.

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For the game to be effective, employees must agree to take part. One important principle is that the game must have a

APRIL 2013

As a designer of training programmes for the hospitality industry, my approach is to use the best technology available and apply the principles from emerging trends to increase awareness among employees, encourage them to collaborate, help them to keep on learning, and improve their skills and lives. Some training games that employees regularly use are more complex than some of the most complex casino computer programs, but nobody has yet needed to be trained in how to play them. People learn how to play them just by playing them. The hospitality industry should consider using computer games to educate and train their employees. My company is about to launch an application for training hospitality and casino industry employees. The Macau Government Tourist Office is interested in the application because of its versatility and its ability to be used by many employees at once, which reduces the need to gather them together time after time for meetings or training sessions. The app saves time and money, and most of all encourages employees to take an active part in the development of their skills. Very soon Macau will have better-trained employees, whose service will be as outstanding as the service in any worldrenowned destination for international tourists. I look forward to it.


B usiness should be fun. Making business fun can win more customers and help keep them for longer. And the way to make business fun is “ga...

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