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 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 26 – Business Process Management and Immortality

Phaedra and Michael M, missing Michael R, have a very rare in person walk through memory lane conversation on how the Innov8 game was used to help explain Business Process Modeling, and how rapidly it was adopted buy universities all over the world.  Such repurposing first person shooter and then later real time strategy game engines in support of marketing and understanding BPM was highly successful in many ways.

Phaedra expanded on the subject by commenting that now, such process optimization games are being used to help expose the optimized new processes as a byproduct of gameplay, by how the game players actually play the game.  One of the best things about games is that they reduce the focus to the most important parts of the subject, removing all else.  This is a continuing thread, reminding us of the conversations had with Ian Bogost and Chris Hazard on earlier episodes.  Gameplay helps to optimize the process because of the focus on the most salient part of the game, and when there are real world elements incorporated, the game can make sense of the deluge of data because of the players who are playing.

For her saving throw, Phaedra shares that process optimization games are a hot topic — per Garnter & Forrester, 50% of organizations that are focusing on process optimization will be using games.  And for Michael’s saving throw, he muses on immortality and how the digital breadcrumbs that we leave everywhere could form the input to artificial intelligence agents which could consume all this information, and then provide insight as to how an individual may approach a problem or answer a question, long after that person is no more.

And with this, we’re taken right back to the start of the show with business process modeling as a strong method of capturing corporate memory.

additional links