Ramesh Natarajan
Feb 12, 2014

Book review: ‘Game Change’ by phd

The agency’s book launched in January 2014 looks at application of game mechanics as a business model

Book review: ‘Game Change’ by phd

‘Game Change’ published by the media and communications agency phd is the latest in the line of books on gamification. It lacks a preface and hence I am not clear why authors from phd were writing it – but I surmise that it is their way of hitching onto the bandwagon.

If you have recently emerged from a cave (or a large enterprise, for that matter) and not figured your head around the concept of gamification, this is a good starting point. The book outlines various examples and viewpoints, drawing from various other books and articles on games and gamification. Inspired by games, the book is laid out across five levels, with a good summary of the key points at the end of each level.

I particularly enjoyed reading about phd’s own experiment with gamification called Source.  It is a ‘gamified’ planning system that brings out greater collaboration among its employees across 75 countries to generate campaign ideas and rewards through leader boards displayed in the reception areas of phd offices. This story was worth more pages but surely inspired a thought.

It is a small book but unfortunately not an easy read in the print version, inspite of the readable, simple content.  It has a ridiculously small font size, and some odd colour backgrounds – so avoid the print version if you can. Here is an example of what could go wrong if the client does not tell the agency to increase the logo and the font size.

The book throws open many discussion points for pondering. But that is where it stops. The treatment is superficial and lacks intellectual rigour. To be fair, gamification is a new field and still has many false gurus, limited examples and limited research. The fundamental insight that you need to take away is this: Gamification is all about how can we bring in the engaging element from the world of games into the world of work and bring about an engagement revolution.

It is a buzzword which is not going to die soon. So, for all its faults – I am going to recommend it. You should download the kindle version. Hopefully you will make a difference to a bored audience somewhere soon with your version of ‘gamification’.

(The author of this review is founder and CEO, Curiosity Road)

(Game Change is co-authored by phd’s Mark Holden, Craig Atkinson, Malcolm Devoy, Frances Ralston-Good, Chris Stephenson, and writer Alasdair Reid.)

Campaign India

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