Sunday, August 7, 2016


It’s the requisite “Pokémon Go” update again, and this time the popular mobile app is taking center stage in a most unusual venue: a company workplace.

Believe it or not, a small startup firm in New York City has gotten the go-ahead from the boss to have its workforce play the ridiculously omnipresent game. Socialfly, a social media marketing network with a modest 12 employees – all women – have been benefitting greatly from being free to catch Pokémon on the way to, during, and after work.

Sounds like a productivity nightmare in the making? Not so, according to Socialfly co-founder Stephanie Cartin. As she tells BBC, “Pokémon GO has really boosted office morale. It’s the only game they’re playing. We don’t mind them playing in the office. They work hard and they get their jobs done. And we’ve had brainstorming sessions to help clients successfully incorporate Pokémon characters into their marketing.

Considering that many of the photographs released to market their social marketing network shows the Socialfly staff fawning over their newly-caught Pokémon like Pidgey and Pikachu, we’ll just have to take their boss at her word.

Mind you, the idea of adding gameplay elements to work has been an idea long, long before “Pokémon Go” or the original “Pokémon” handheld games or even video games in general were a thing.Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania assistant professor of management Ethan Mollick has found evidence in ancient graffiti at Egyptian archaeological sites that the Ancient Egyptians actually treated the building of their pyramids like a sport, dividing their work gangs of slaves into teams that compete to put up the most blocks in the construction. The winning team got extra rations of Ancient Egyptian beer. That almost sounded like a modern rkplace for a second.

And none can deny that the “gamification” of work can be effective in making some forms of labor interesting, especially if the game rules call for incentives if a worker “won”. This “revolutionary” approach to work has long been practiced in the outsourcing of business processes and call centers. 

Mollick sees the application of augmented reality as in “Pokémon Go” as the ultimate goal of work gamification. This makes the hit mobile app an important step in the realization put forth: “Work is boring. Games aren’t boring. So let’s make work more like a game.” Because the augmented reality in “Pokémon Go” makes it appear that the Pokémon creatures are actually present in the real world, as viewed through the phone’s camera, the experience becomes very immersive and enjoyable. Mollick puts it this way: “As an augmented reality game it shows what you can do in the workplace. You can create an artificial layer over work which is more interesting than the work itself.”

Photo Credit to


Post a Comment