Monday, 17 December 2012

Gamification and the use of "Achievements" in work plus the need for BIM

Anyone who has played computer games in the last two years will have become aware of "Achievements".  Basically, you receive Achievements for doing certain things in games.  Completing a level might give an achievement. Completing it on a harder difficulty setting might give another.  Completing it quickly might be another one.  Or finding a hidden item within the level.  Falling from a height that almost (but not quite) kills you.

Anything pretty much can be an Achievement.

And they're addictive.  I'm currently playing World of Warcraft and getting really in pet battles - for those not aware of what I'm talking about, basically you can train pets to fight other pets, to make them stronger.  And you can capture other pets (generally after your pet has kicked the stuffing out of them) to give you more choice.

And there's achievements for defeating certain people with your pets.  It's driving me on to get an Achievement, and basically makes me stay online playing the games for many hours more than I would do otherwise, playing what is basically a simple turn based fight sim.

There has been some thought into how this Achievement system could be brought into the world of work.  Certainly targets are nothing new (the acronym SMART is synonymous with target setting) but whether it can be reconfigured into an Achievements system is an intriguing one.

Would you stay longer at your desk working if it meant you getting more "points" than your colleagues?  It's certainly a way of differentiating between workers.  I think there's a danger that potentially people come to rely on it as a method of assessing quality of work, which in my view it is too much of a blunt implement to do successfully.  However, it could indeed form part of performance management, apart from its main role as a motivational tool.

Construction, my particular work sector, has long been viewed as in need of a revolution to produce efficiency.  In other sectors it would be unthinkable for managers based on site to be without email or internet facilities, in far too many situations it is still the case in construction that site managers are working without basic IT facilities to support them.

BIM, or Building Information Management, is not a solution by itself, but is still a potentially fantastic tool.  being able to identify clashes on designs prior to construction starting will reduce problems on site - simply equate the cost of changing a design against the cost of changing a design while a construction site is delayed waiting for the change to be made.  The use of web conferencing facilities to allow design meetings to take place virtually, with the design team sat in their offices watching as the building design is walked through virtually rather than everyone sat around poring over drawings, trying to imagine the finished facility.  And the benefits for users, who aren't necessarily skilled at deciphering drawings, now able to look at a virtual 3D model of their completed building.

The elimination of change post-tender is an important goal to aim for.

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