IBM: Gaming and Leadership Report

More research continues to pour out of IBM. Last week they published their report on gaming and leadership:

Gaming and Leadership Report: Virtual Worlds, Real Leaders

Here’s the blurb from the IBM page:

Management fads and business leadership books come and go. But the Internet, and the changes it is forcing upon business managers of all stripes, is here to stay. The days of closely knit teams working on long-term strategy in close quarters are gone, replaced by virtual teams that constantly reinvent the business in multiple time zones the world over. And the business world is in desperate need of a new model for leadership befitting the Internet Age.

Fortunately there is already a window into this rapidly changing world. In the realm of online games, specifically massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), leaders emerge that deftly navigate the motivational, emotional and social needs of their direct reports in a highly competitive, distributed, virtual environment. And there are many lessons to be learned.

That’s why IBM partnered with Seriosity Inc., a software company that develops enterprise products and services inspired by online games, to study how leaders operate in these increasingly popular games. Together with experts from Stanford University and MIT, the team captured 50 hours of online game play, surveyed hundreds of gamers, and conducted several interviews of gaming leaders. The objective of the study was twofold: 1.) to better understand how successful leaders behave in online games and 2.) to learn what aspects of game environments leaders leverage to be more effective.

The results are fascinating. Among other things, we learned that the transparent environments created in online games made leadership easier to assume. And that leadership in online games is more temporary and flexible than it is in the business world. And finally, online games give leaders the freedom to fail, and experiment with different approaches and techniques, something that any Fortune 500 company that hopes to innovate needs to understand.”

Here’s a direct link to the PDF of the report:

Virtual Worlds: Real Leaders (PDF)

Every educator, especially those who have no experience in traditional MMO’s like Everquest and World of Warcraft, should read this report and digest the information presented. These concepts should be folded into any design of an educational space in any virtual world.


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