Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

How World of Warcraft Could Save Your Business and The Economy

John Seely Brown: I would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an NBA from Harvard.  Why is a game, a massive multiplayer game that has maybe 12 million people or more playing it like the World of Warcraft, so important at both the individual level and maybe at the corporate level?  

To understand these massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, do not think about it as just game play but look at the social life on the edge of the game.  A typical night, there will be approximately 15,000 new strategic ideas created around the world.  If you want to compete that night or the next day, somehow you have to appropriate in your own play what 15,000 new ideas mean to you in order to go into this high-end raid.  Most of these high-end performance groups in World of Warcraft create guilds; you have to have a guild to do anything because it’s a fundamentally collaborative game.  These guilds will be sometimes 100, 200 people.  Guess what?  They don’t have a bonus structure to guide them to incent them.  Only passion, only interest works.  And what you have to have is find a way to turn this guild structure of several hundred people into knowledge refinering groups.  And so basically, self-organizing to some extent, things start to happen, particularly groups go off and say, “I’m going to study this." "I’m going to study this." "I’m going to try this idea out and by tonight I will have consolidated . . . this class of ideas about how this particular new magic potion might actually work to re-heal you faster.”  Blah, blah, blah. . . .   

And so what we’ve done is we’ve turned this entire kind of social organization into an ideation structure and an idea-refinement structure, all as more or less self-organizing groups.  I mean, show me anything that happens in the corporate world that has 15,000 new strategic ideas.  Possibly biotech does, but no world I know about in the corporate world.  We think about ten new ideas already overloading us.  You know, 10,000 is unthinkable. 

When we look in to the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining and generation capabilities of these guild structures, there is something going on here.  These are not just self-organizing groups.  Basically every high-end guild has a constitution.  The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time.  They also have to be willing to say, “Let’s measure ourselves.”  These guilds are truly meritocracy-based.  And so even if you are the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after-action review, and the after-action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else.  You can replay the whole thing because basically its all computer-meditated so it can be captured. 

But equally interesting to me is you can’t play in these complex worlds without building dashboards.  And these are dashboards that are measuring you, are measuring your state of being.  They also measure all the things happening around you.  Now, let’s step back a moment.  Every corporate situation I’ve ever been in has dashboards.  These dashboards are measurements that are superimposed on you by your manager.  So we live in a world of measurement and basically it's famously said, "If it’s not measured, it won’t get done."  You’ve probably heard that before by many people you discuss.  And isn’t it interesting that all those measurements are decided by your boss, applied to you?  In World of Warcraft you invent a dashboard for yourself.  So this whole idea of thinking about how do I build measurements to facilitate my own performance for me and me alone becomes very interesting.  And in fact, in the World of Warcraft, there’s a simple mantra I encounter all the time: if I ain’t learning, it ain’t fun.

Now let’s think about re-designing the workscape for the 21st century.  What would it mean to have each of us in a workscape define our own dashboard, our own source of measurements?  Suppose we actually then built little groups whose sole job is to accelerate learning in our particular interest group inside the corporation.  How do we start to completely turn the whole notion of what the workspace is about, or the workscape, I’m going to call it, about into something that becomes a talent accelerator for myself to pick up new ideas, to be able to learn faster with doing things with others and so on and so forth?  These are the practices that you’ll pick up in World of Warcraft if you are in one of these high-performing guilds. 

And so it is an amazing learning environment with powerful learning tools that I think we in the education world can learn a hell of a lot about and we in the management world can learn a lot about.  But it gets back to this notion of passion, it gets back to this notion of curiosity, and it gets back to this notion that this is an interest-driven phenomenon that unleashes exponential learning of a dimension that’s almost unimaginable any other way. 

Directed / Produced by

Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

 

Learning guru John Seely Brown is not being even slightly ironic when he says that he’d hire an expert player of World of Warcraft (the massive multiplayer online fantasy videogame) over an MBA from Harvard.

Take your career to the next level by raising your EQ

Emotional intelligence is a skill sought by many employers. Here's how to raise yours.

Gear
  • Daniel Goleman's 1995 book Emotional Intelligence catapulted the term into widespread use in the business world.
  • One study found that EQ (emotional intelligence) is the top predictor of performance and accounts for 58% of success across all job types.
  • EQ has been found to increase annual pay by around $29,000 and be present in 90% of top performers.
Keep reading Show less

Can VR help us understand layers of oppression?

Researchers are using technology to make visual the complex concepts of racism, as well as its political and social consequences.

Future of Learning
  • Often thought of first as gaming tech, virtual reality has been increasingly used in research as a tool for mimicking real-life scenarios and experiences in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Focusing on issues of oppression and the ripple affect it has throughout America's political, educational, and social systems, Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn of Columbia University School of Social Work and her team developed a VR experience that gives users the opportunity to "walk a mile" in the shoes of a black man as he faces racism at three stages in his life: as a child, during adolescence, and as an adult.
  • Cogburn says that the goal is to show how these "interwoven oppressions" continue to shape the world beyond our individual experiences. "I think the most important and powerful human superpower is critical consciousness," she says. "And that is the ability to think, be aware and think critically about the world and people around you...it's not so much about the interpersonal 'Do I feel bad, do I like you?'—it's more 'Do I see the world as it is? Am I thinking critically about it and engaging it?'"
Keep reading Show less

Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Coronavirus
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

    Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

    Image source: Ernst Haeckel
    Surprising Science
    • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
    • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
    • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
    Keep reading Show less

    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.

    Talkspace.com
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast