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Serious Games Developing Leadership

The recent Business Week article IBM's Management Games  has been reproduced at large by several blogs and sites over the Web , therefore I have no intention to replicate it here.

Besides promoting Innov8, object of my prior posting Serious Games For Improving Business Process Management, in the middle section of the article a theme, that is close to my heart, is addressed: Developing Leadership.

It states that "McKinsey & Co. is using video games to test recruits for leadership potential and assess their team-building style. Royal Philips Electronics and Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, are using multiplayer games to improve collaboration between far-flung divisions, as well as between managers and their overseas underlings."

"What distinguishes the latest corporate forays into the gaming world is the degree to which companies are tapping virtual environments to hone the leadership skills of their workers."

"By 2011, 80% of Internet users will have avatars, or digital versions of themselves, for work and play, according to market researcher Gartner . By the end of 2012, half of all U.S. companies will also have digital offices or "networked virtual environments," adds Gartner. The online game world will become an important place to hold meetings, orient new hires, and communicate across the globe."

Such an aggressive projection has made me recap the context provided by three University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Constance Steinkuehler, James Gee and Kurt Squire for their work with the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory at UW-Madison, a testing ground for learning games.

Games that make leaders

Video games let their players step into new personas and explore alternatives. Not only that, but people can try to solve problems they’re not good at yet, get immediate feedback on the consequences and try again immediately.

”Because games keep things “pleasantly frustrating,” Gee said, players have incentives to keep on improving their performance. That can lead to learning outside the game as well.