Episode 74 – 4K Gaming

George Bernard Shaw quote

Episode 74, 4K Gaming was recorded on Friday, September 27th, 2013.

In this almost-lost episode, Michael M introduces Sandy Kearney as a Game At Work.biz co-host. Since Sandy used the term “HD of Gaming” during the recording of the podcast, it seemed a small editorial liberty to upgrade to 4K. Game on!

Sandy’s core work is with e426.org — assisting small businesses, IEEE and universities on the use of emerging and innovative technology. She is also a professor at Villanova University teaching leadership, business and emerging technology. Furthermore, she also teaches emerging technology and runs the emergency planning and professional studies programs at Immaculata University.

Wargaming and Peacegaming
Emergency planning lends itself very well to running board exercises to plan what would Hurricane Sandy look like, and how it would play out. Using new technology to explore the logical path forward through games helps to position first responders as well as create a better emergency preparedness plan for the university.

HD of Gaming
We can see instant results through visuals and dashboards that would not have been understandable ten years ago. This instant feedback allows for faster process awareness, both the detailed documented processes as well as the undocumented ones. Sandy noted that the best university responses to crises, both natural disasters and man-made ones, have been social media, noting “the best university responses have been social media, better than arming police officers”. Whereas the younger generations have quickly adopted and embraced these social new technologies, others are slower to make full use, and these emergency preparedness simulations can open the eyes and speed adoption.

Not just process modeling — process mining!
Following on the idea of emergency preparedness, Sandy and Michael explored the importance of collecting the data to analyze at a later time as an important capability. Because of the data capture, it is now possible to better understand how the data is joined to the process, determine behavior when people play, how the play, and look at the larger scenarios, the geopolitical framework, local crisis response and better understand the full ecosystem. This concept is not foreign in the space of business process modeling, where business people (as opposed to technologists) can make changes to the business models and have the underlying technology change the process to match the business reality. Professor Will van der Aalst’s research on process mining allows for this kind of analysis, on steroids. Every process step could be captured with a time & date stamp and the fuller analysis of the complete set of transactional events could create a process model that is much more like reality than a model created from scratch. Professor van der Aalst’s work surfaces the “elephant paths” — the way that people actually execute a process, rather than the proscribed steps that the desk procedures say that a process should execute.

Institutional Protocols
These elephant paths — very similar to the way that university students cut across a lawn to get from point A to point B in a more efficient way — demonstrate the inherent challenges with institutional protocols, and the efforts of people to circumvent them when they become a hinderance. Sandy uses the example of IT wireless network security, describing a situation where the difficulty in getting connected to a wireless network bogs down the the user to the point where they seek out a wired ethernet connection, which is much simpler to plug in and get to the Internet. Circling back to emergency planning, these kinds of data collection about what people actually do when confronted with a challenge, coupled with location based data could surface some very interesting insight needed to tighten controls as well as provide for more rapid communication, done in unconventional ways.

Selected show links:
e426.org the Innovation Corps for America — http://e426.org/
Villanova University Department of Computing Sciences — http://csc.villanova.edu
Immaculata University — http://www.immaculata.edu
IEEE — http://www.ieee.org/index.html
IBM BPM Symposium 2013 — http://www-05.ibm.com/de/events/bpm-symposium/index.html
Process Mining — http://www.processmining.org
BPM Symposium 2013 interview with Prof. Wil van der Aalst (auf Deutsch / German) — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW16JqxftKw&feature=youtu.be
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven — http://www.tue.nl
Professor Wil van der Aalst — http://wwwis.win.tue.nl/~wvdaalst/

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Episode 72 – Crowd vs Crowd

Sports Crowds
Phaedra, Sandy, Michael and Michael are all on deck for this podcast to discuss location based games, review Michael R’s experiences from CES, brainstorm gamifying sports, and much much more. Tune in for some serious discussion on serious games.

Location, Location, Location
Michael M kicks things off to follow on from last week’s blog post on The Tap Labs’ game Tiny Tycoons. Things get really location specific as Sandy suggests that there should be an emerging new game along the lines of SnapChat called SnapTrack, where location information is shared with friends, but only for a limited time. Given that the last entity to have that name was sold for (wait for it) one billion dollars, there could quite well be something to it!

Michael R gives a terrific flyover from his experience at the Consumer Electronics Show, summing things up by saying “the Internet of Things is real. Software and integration is real, and 3D printing is now entering mainstream.” A shoutout to Ian “epredator” Hughes for his early thinking in this area. Exciting developments in robotics, contact lenses (spiders are next, I’m sure) and augmented/interactive television give the team plenty to explore. Michael R had a chance to meet with the SeeSpace team to discuss the InAiR innovation while he was in Las Vegas, and that interview is here:

And for some CES robotics fun —

Gamifying Sports
Phaedra was eager to think about the gamification of sports during this championship season and to kick around other ways of engaging sports fans beyond Fantasy Football. The team discusses players predicting plays (and during the show editing, came across an NFL game exactly in this vein), sports trivia and user interface means of overlaying information on top of the existing game in action via the InAir concept discussed in the CES section. An idea about engaging individuals to play the sport while the sport is played live, using the same players, the same data and analytics is kicked around, and the comparison of player vs player, team vs team and crowd vs crowd is served up.

Selected show links:

Tiny Tycoons — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tiny-tycoons/id558547777?mt=8&ls=1
Rescue Rush (location-based streets game) — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rescue-rush/id580844711?mt=8
SnapTrack — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SnapTrack
WSJ Online “The ‘Gamification’ of the Office Approaches — http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303819704579316721461148950
3D Printing at CES 2014 — http://www.ibtimes.com/3d-printing-ces-2014-da-vinci-3d-printer-makerbot-3d-systems-highlight-versatility-cheaper-pricing
Google Unveils Smart Contact Lens — http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/16/google-shows-off-smart-contact-lens-that-lets-diabetics-measure-their-glucose-levels/
InAiR — http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2128859975/inair-the-worlds-1st-augmented-television?ref=search
SeeSpace — http://seespace.co
NFL Call the Play — http://www.nfl.com/live/call-the-play
Buzztime Entertainment — http://www.buzztime.com/
Twine — http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/supermechanical/twine-listen-to-your-world-talk-to-the-internet
Raspberry Pi — http://www.raspberrypi.org

We are just delighted to have had you dialed our way. You can find us on G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more.


Good news on a lost episode and intro to Tiny Tycoons

We have some good news for our podcast listeners — while there was not a recording this past Friday, an episode thought to be lost has been found! There needs to be some cleanup, and that will take place over the next few days. So in the meantime, let us remind you that we are interested in your feedback and are eager to hear your suggestions on topics that you would like us to cover.

In the meantime, there is one topic that we’ve been very interested here over at Games At Work, and that deals with location-based computing, coupled with games. The intersection of iBeacons (and other low energy Bluetooth) and gaming has been very promising for some time, and MacRumors posted an interesting story on the game Tiny Tycoons.

Tiny Tycoons is a cross between Foursquare, Monopoly City Streets and Ingress, where you can travel the world, both physically and virtually, to buy and trade properties. I’ve downloaded the game and will be giving it a whirl, and will look forward to sharing my insights on how this could be adapted for business purposes. I’m going to be the mayor, um, owner of a few new properties shortly!

Episode 71 – Grinding at Work

Board Games
Episode 71, Grinding at Work was recorded Friday the 3rd of January 2014 — Happy New Year!

Phaedra, Michael and Michael start the new year off with a bang, sharing the games that they’ve been playing over the holidays, discussing the Virtuix Omni 360 degree treadmill device, and exploring how grinding gaming experiences may lend themselves to improved customer and employee engagement. A very interesting gamification idea emerges for how Kinect-like devices could provide biofeedback to call center employees to help them stay “in the zone” and be as effective as possible. Have a listen!

Selected show links:
Games we’re been playing over the holidays
Clumsy Ninja — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clumsy-ninja/id561416817?mt=8
Real Racing 3 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/real-racing-3/id556164008?mt=8

Apples to Apples — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apples_to_Apples
Cranium — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranium_(game)
Blackjack — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackjack
Texas Hold ‘Em — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_hold_%27em

Lego Hobbit — http://www.lego.com/legogames/en-us/Products/Details/3920.aspx
Tiny Thief — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tiny-thief/id656620224?mt=8
Mega Dead Pixel — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mega-dead-pixel/id667405556?mt=8

Association of Virtual Worlds — http://www.associationofvirtualworlds.com

Omni videos, including Minecraft, Skyrim, and much more — http://www.virtuix.com/videos/

Math before mailing (from 2008!) — http://gmailblog.blogspot.hu/2008/10/new-in-labs-stop-sending-mail-you-later.html

Simpsons Tapped Out — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-simpsons-tapped-out/id497595276?mt=8

Kinect — http://www.xbox.com/en-US/kinect


Episode 62 – Gamification Carrots & Sticks

Phaedra and Michael M hold down the fort for the podcast, discussing the treatment of video games in the media in the wake of the tragic Navy Yard shootings and drawing some interesting thoughts on the nature of serious games to assist with mental health.

Gamifying Travel
They continue with a discussion on gamifying travel, and explore an idea where the game is to crowdsource the best travel options & prices between city pairs, setting up a competition to find the best solution using humans instead of algorithms.  The suggestion for how to monetize this game brings up the experiment in Sweden with the speed camera lottery, where abiders (those who observe the posted speed limit) are entered into a lottery to win the fines of those that speed.  As is their nature, Phaedra and Michael explore ways to game the game, and come up with some interesting solutions, including having an option in Waze to optimize travel routing to maximize entry into such contests and methods to avoid creating situations such as in Benson NC where people might cruise up and down the road in hopes of getting more entries in the lottery.

Gamifying work processes
Strava is a geolocation-based exercise game for runners and bikers that reward the fastest times on a stretch of road with a crown to be defended and won back, should someone best your time.  Strava is used as a base to consider whether there’s a way to find a process that we want people to comply with, want them to execute as quickly as possible, minimize escapes by reinforcing abiders are put into a lottery to win something of value to them.  The additional randomness of the reward – the carrot – may get more people to opt in and play.  Figuring out what is meaningful to the player is key.  How can gamification and serious games help people to adopt a new process with carrots and sticks?   There is a game in there, we just need to tease it out.  We would love to hear your ideas!

upcoming conferences 
Michael M will be speaking at IBM Business Connect ( http://www-01.ibm.com/software/de/events/businessconnect/agenda.html ) on the theme of Smarter Supply Chain on the 15th of October in Mannheim, Germany.  His other speaking engagements may be found on Lanyrd – http://lanyrd.com/profile/carolinabigblue/

Phaedra will be a panelist on October 28th, at TransOvation (http://www.transovation.org) in San Jose, California, focusing on the theme of “New Technologies and Workplace Practices That Can Help Organizations Become More Innovative”

Selected show links:
Huffington Post article “House Set To Examine Link Between Video Games, Culture Of Violence In Wake Of Navy Yard Shooting”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/20/video-game-lobby_n_3957441.html
Sweden’s speed camera lottery — http://www.thefuntheory.com/speed-camera-lottery-0
Strava – http://www.strava.com/mobile


Episode 60 – Bubbly Bubblers in Gamified Buildings

Happy Water CoolerPhaedra, Michael and Michael were delighted to be accompanied by Ross Smith, Director of Test in the Skype division of Microsoft for this show, centered around games for employee engagement.

Ross described the recent work that he and his team have done with giving personality to buildings and using the building itself as the ‘game master’, to orchestrate and facilitate employee engagement.

Games for health
One of the intriguing examples (also discussed in Episode 58, but without the benefit of Ross’s first hand experience) uses a water cooler with personality as the mechanism for gamifying health.  While drinking eight glasses of water a day is a pretty well known health tip (I’m drinking my 4th big glass as I’m writing this!), it is easily forgotten in the hectic business day.  The team at Microsoft gave their water cooler a bubbly user interface and 4 emotional modes (sad, happy, attract/flirt and party) to experiment with increasing the amount of water consumed by the building’s people.  The results:  more water for more people, and a wealth of data, feedback and ideas to continue the innovation.  The picture above was inspired by Ross’ story and is my low-tech example of giving the water cooler in my apartment some personality as well!
Another example is classifying the food choices in the cafeteria as green, yellow and red, and then using that data to guide behavior.  If less healthy food choices are selected, the building might suggest using the stairs or a longer route for a meeting later in the day.  This has helped the team learn more about what people are willing to share, and what they are not, and inform future game design on what should have individual vs team collective goals to maximize participation while respecting privacy.

Games for social / business interaction
The game ISHI was used as the buildings were being opened to help the team come together in an open office, connected community.  Ross described how people may respond to some survey questions indicating preference between skiing and snowboarding, or cat / dog fandom, and then how that kind of data can be used to create groups and teams with common interests and help people to get to know one another even better.  The building invited people to come to a central space, then you have met a number of people with common interest across job roles and functions, with the goal of beating the clock to figure out what do they have in common.  This method of dynamic team creation could be leveraged to bring a creative team together to brainstorm how to solve a client’s problem just as easily.
Windows Language Quality Game was another game with similar tremendous results, this game wound up attracting more than 4,000 people play and review over half a million screens, separating actionable feedback from non-actionable feedback received from public beta testers of Windows software.  Ross noted that rigorous data collection is key, and his experience of 4x – 16x increased participation and results because of the game mechanics can demonstrate even to the skeptics the business impact and win them over.

We were delighted to have Ross on the show with us today, and if you would like to learn more about him and the projects he’s involved in, you can find him on the following links:

Web www.42projects.org
Twitter   @42projects
Facebook  www.facebook.com/42projects
blog  http://42projects.blogspot.com/

We are happy to have had you dialed our way.  You can find us on G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more.  Please comment, friend, tweet and send us topics you would like to hear more about!

Selected show links
ISHI game for the Skype team at Microsoft — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
ISHI game documentary rough cut — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0W431tP6SM&feature=youtu.be
Water Cooler — http://www.businessinsider.com/like-to-flirt-at-the-office-water-cooler-a-microsoft-intern-built-a-water-cooler-that-flirts-back-2013-8
Vote for Sentient Buildings for SXSW — http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/21393
Microsoft Interns — http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/interns13-082613.aspx
Magic Circle of Play — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Circle_(virtual_worlds)
Everymove.org — https://everymove.org
Chore Wars — http://www.chorewars.com
uTest — http://www.utest.com

Games we’re playing (or thinking about)
Madden 25 — http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl
Assassin’s Creed — http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-us/home/index.aspx
SimCity — http://www.simcity.com
Bioshock 2 — http://www.bioshock2game.com/en/
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 — http://www.callofduty.com/blackops/
iPad games for toddlers?  Phaedra would like your suggestions!
Dragon Box — http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=200275
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies-2/id597986893?mt=8


Episode 58 – Zombies vs Mummies

Porter Stowell joins Phaedra and Michael M for a rockin’ good time across a broad set of topics for this week’s show. Phaedra shares her stories from the Serious Play Conference in Seattle earlier this week, highlighting how Ross Smith has created a building with personality to interact with the people who enter and use it. We playfully riff off of the idea that a water fountain may say “glad to be of service” and how other aspects of the building personality may interact with people, and how municipalities could interact with citizens, rewarding them for taking action to help maintain the city.

Porter highlights how crowdsourcing has been incorporated in charity concerts, and the team speculates how technologies such as Foursquare (and Foursquare mayors) might be engaged for validation of the crowdsourced contributions.

The panel then turns to the question of ethics that was started during last week’s show, and reaches a consensus that disclosure is key for organizations using games to achieve a goal beyond that of simple entertainment. If you play a game, and the outcome of that play may be in the furtherance of another goal, the player should know in advance what their play is helping to attain so they may make an informed decision to play or not. Porter, Phaedra and Michael speculate on what it would take to gain informed consent to build the Death Star, and what kind of spin would be needed to do so.

How does Michael spend his vacation? Well, playing games! He shares his experiences with a couple of iOS games — Sid Meier’s Pirates, Plants vs Zombies 2, Motor World, and Simpson’s Tapped Out. We have an intense discussion as to whether mummies are zombies before Porter calms Phaedra and Michael back down. A thread between Motor World and the Simpsons is that both use doughnuts as a scarce currency. It’s all about the doughnuts.


Porter has been playing a game played by 30m people, growing by 60% every year, where you sorting through useless data points in order to win. Porter stumped Phaedra and Michael on this riddle – see if you can identify what game it is before Porter gives it away!

Selected show links

Serious Play Conference, Seattle August 19 – 22, 2013 — http://www.seriousplayconference.com
Ross Smith — http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosss42
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_Ahead_(Bill_Gates_book)
Nolan Bushnell — http://nolanbushnell.com
Gabe Zimmerman — http://www.gamification.co/gabe-zichermann/
Zoran Povović — http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~zoran/
Fold.it — http://fold.it/portal/
Dragonbox — http://dragonboxapp.com
ESP Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP_Game
reCaptcha — http://www.google.com/recaptcha
World Community Grid — http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
SETI@Home — http://setiathome.berkeley.edu
Waze — http://www.waze.com
Ender’s Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender%27s_Game
Sid Meier’s Pirates — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sid-meiers-pirates!/id499794670?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies/id350642635?mt=8
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Simpson’s Tapped Out — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-simpsons-tapped-out/id497595276?mt=8
Techmo Bowl — http://tecmobowl.org


Mummies, Microsoft, Motors and much, much more!

Listeners — you are in for quite the treat, with a jam-packed show from last Friday, filled to the brim with stories from Seattle, debates about whether mummies are zombies (or whether Egyptian zombies are mummies!), buildings that have come alive with Microsoft technology, games with pirates and automobile construction and oh, so much more. So much more, that it is taking even longer for our post-recording team to create the audio file you need to hear. When we say “it’s all about the doughnuts”, you will see exactly what we mean shortly.

We’re aiming for Tuesday, so stay tuned!

Episode 53 – Mad (Wo)Men and MOOCs

Michael M with Coca Cola

Michael M with Coca Cola


Phaedra and Michael M talk about reaching people in different ways — through advertising, in game purchases, marketing, and education.  Establishing relationships between organizations and people, whether from a brand to a person, a game to a player, and an instructor to a student are all changing and scaling up.

Phaedra and Michael discuss how that specifications for all courseware should be structured so that anything could be plugged into a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course).  Imagine what could be — mobile, social learning, in-course purchases, power ups, gamification, audio, video, and even more!

We are just delighted to have had you dialed our way.  You can find us on G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more.  Please comment, friend, tweet and favorite us with topics you would like to hear more about!





Selected show links


SuperAwesome Launches Mobile Ad Network — http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/11/kmn/
womengamers.com — http://womengamers.com
more Hungarian Coca-Cola advertising —

Hungarian Coca-Cola ad

Hungarian Coca-Cola ad

Blackboard founders say Online Education to Put Price Pressure on Traditional Schools — http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/11/blackboard-co-founders-says-online-education-set-to-put-price-pressure-on-traditional-schools/
MOOC — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Open_Online_Course
Kahn Academy — http://www.khanacademy.org
Office of Science, Technology and Planning – http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp
Goldie Blox — http://www.goldieblox.com
Mad Men TV show – http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men


Things that make you go hmmmm

Budapest Starbucks Finder

Since there will be a delay in producing the audio podcast for this past Friday’s recording with Michael M and Phaedra, I thought I’d share a couple interesting things. This morning, on our way to Visegrád for the annual Palace Games, we stopped at the Deák Ter Starbucks for some caffeinated encouragement. I noticed the chalk sign in the coffee shop and shared it with Foursquare, and remembered the Lewis Black comedy routine where Lewis said that there are places, such as in Houston, where you could walk out of one Starbucks, and see another right across the road. Good news for those visiting Budapest, that there is a map right in the Starbucks to find another Starbucks.

A listener shared a link with us this morning that had me practically spilling my coffee — the “worst video game ever” from the New Yorker.

The fact that this video game would grant one, (yes, you got that right) one point to the player who successfully completed one full, real time equivalent eight hour trip from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada is only the start of the fun. There is nothing to see or do in this game, except to pilot your bus from Arizona to Nevada. No pausing, no breaks, and driving the bus requires constant correction. I’m laughing again just thinking about what this gameplay must be like… A challenge to our listeners for the next show… Give the article a read, and mail/tweet/post to Facebook, G+, Tumblr your suggestions for what kind of business games could be launched given a similar setup.

With some good luck, my hard drive replacement and data restoration will be complete, and the show will be posted by Wednesday. This post was written from my iPad after formatting the newly installed hard drive and kicking off the restore. Maybe there’s a game in this, where I would have to stay up for hours, clicking on ‘ok’ buttons that would time out and require me to restart the whole operation again if I didn’t respond within 30 seconds. While I’m laughing a bit, I’m also concerned, since I do need this hard drive restore to work!