How to Score Epic Green Wins in the Workplace with Gamification

Ralph Thurm believes that games have the potential to create "epic wins."

Thurm, director sustainability and innovation at Deloitte Netherlands is, of course, referring not to our inane desire to play Call of Duty all day but the collective intelligence required to participate in a cloud to "simulate a world that is completely different such as world within the zero impact growth paradigm."

So, what does gamification -- the use of gaming mechanics to achieve targeted outcomes – have to do with employees and sustainability?

Take SAP's latest game, TwoGo, for example. SAP Labs Senior Innovation Strategist Mario Herger recently identified some of the games he is working on in a previous article. One of them was TwoGo, which has received growing interest since its debut within SAP. Built as a carpooling system, TwoGo allows employees in Germany to connect and matchup their routes for carpooling.

Not only does it allow users to save money and fuel consumption, it creates an opportunity for employees to interact with colleagues they would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.

This, according to Herger, is the true beauty of gaming.

There are approximately 500 million gamers in the world today. The population of gamers is anticipated to grow to 1.5 billion in the next 10 years.

World of Warcraft, a wildly popular game where players are given the means to save the world attracts an average gaming time of 22 hours per week, says Jane McGonigal, speaker and author of "Reality is Broken." McGonigal says, "What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real world problems?"

If we apply Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours theory of success to gaming, we have a world where teenagers are graduating high school with a virtuous expertise in gaming.

In fact, CSR journalist Aman Singh writing on gamification, cited a 2011 Saatchi & Saatchi S report that stated: "55 percent of Americans want to work for companies that use gamification as an incentive to boost productivity."

For consulting giant Deloitte, however, gaming is an emerging -- and immensely forceful -- strategic opportunity to push through sustainability and learning-based organizational development. In fact, it is honing in on a specific gaming category called "serious gaming," which refers to games developed for the purpose of non-entertainment, or largely, learning.

For Deloitte, the power of gaming lies in its ability to speed up the sustainability process within a company through direct experiencing of the gamers: What you actually do sticks best to your mind.