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Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business Paperback – September 29, 2012

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Notes from the Author

Author Michael Hugos takes the strategies employed in such Massively Multiuser Online (MMO) games and applies them to real-life situations. A longtime CIO, Hugos has seen these techniques and tips work. Here is a small sampling of his wisdom:

The Engagement Machine
A game is an engagement engine – it attracts and engages players. You can measure the success of a game by the number of players it attracts and the level of engagement it gets from players. Think of a business also as engagement engine – it attracts and engages customers and employees. You can measure its success by the number of customers and enthusiastic employees it attracts. Now think of games that attract you and why – what ideas does this give you for using game mechanics in your own business?

The key element to creating a game is a real-time feedback system that shows people what the score is and whether their actions are taking them closer to or further away from the goal. Games attract players through excitement created by this moment-to-moment feedback. Companies can attract customers and enthusiastic employees through excitement created by showing them what is happening in their business activities in real-time or near real-time and then giving them reasons to care about the outcome.

There are three necessary conditions to create a feedback system and generate excitement in a company or business activity: 1) Real-time or near real-time visibility of relevant data for everyone involved – this is technology; 2) Authority to act within predefined rules to accomplish predefined goals is delegated to everyone involved – this is process; 3) A stake in the outcome for everyone involved so everyone is motivated to act and continue to improve as situations change – this is people.

Choose Your Avatar
Increase your company’s ability to communicate and collaborate with customers, partners and employees by creating systems with features similar to those used in MMO games such as "World of Warcraft" and "EVE Online." Present business collaboration systems rarely go beyond document sharing and video conferencing. Next generation business collaboration systems can use 3D animation, avatars and virtual worlds to deliver levels of performance in business similar to what MMOs do for online game play.

About the Author

Michael Hugos is an author, speaker, award-winning CIO and principal at Center for Systems Innovation [c4s . He works with clients to find elegant solutions to complex problems with focus in supply chains, business intelligence, and new business ventures. Earlier he spent six years as CIO of a national distribution organization where he developed a suite of supply chain and e-business systems that transformed the company's operations and revenue model. For this work he won the CIO 100 Award, the InformationWeek 500 Award and the Premier 100 Award. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and writes a blog for CIO magazine called "Doing Business in Real Time". He is author of seven other books including the popular Essentials of Supply Chain Management, now in its third edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (September 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449319564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449319564
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've spent several decades working in that area where information technology, supply chains and business overlap. My work combines cloud computing and business agility with systems thinking and simulation modeling to redesign and reinvigorate business operations. I have advised and mentored development teams at Microsoft Xbox, Starbucks Coffee Company, U.S. Navy Medical Logistics Command and numerous smaller companies. See my online SCM Globe supply chain simulation app for an example of using simulation modeling to teach people about supply chains and problem solving.

Previously I was chief information officer (CIO) of a North American distribution organization where I developed a suite of supply chain applications that transformed the company's operations and revenue model. For this work I won the CIO 100 Award for resourcefulness, the InformationWeek 500 Award for innovation, and the Premier 100 Award for career achievement. I earned my MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. I'm author of several business and technical books.

I'm also a student of history (Roman and Modern history in particular). We're going through an epic cultural shift on a global scale. Having relevant historical perspective is a help in making sense of what is happening. My newest book is a historical novel told by the heir of an imperial family as he comes to terms with life altering events, and his own role in those events - Leptis Magna: Emperor's Dream on the Edge of the Desert.

You can reach me via my website (, or by email at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MM TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The basic premise of this book is that the things that make gaming so engrossing can be applied to a business with great positive effect. As a lifelong gamer I was interested in reading about this of course. Very quickly I got the idea that we can make people and companies more productive by giving them goals, clear rules, feedback and have them participate voluntarily. Hmmm... Where have I heard that before?

Bob, we're giving you a goal of 100 widget sales this month. If you sell 25 you'll get 5% of the take, if you sell 50 you'll get 7%, 75 is worth 9%, 100 10% and so on above that. If you're the top seller for the month I'll take you to dinner and give you a better parking spot. Sell the most in the year and you get a new car. We'll have a board in the office showing widget sales and you can compete with the other guys.

So is a fairly typical sales setup now based on a CoD leaderboard, or is this just looking at tried and true concepts through a gamer's eyes? I myself have geeked out on FB talking about how athletics are really the same as an MMORPG where you build yourself as your 'character' picking a class, training different attributes and measuring them to watch them grow, seeing how that effects overall performance, etc... But I was joking, and didn't write a book about it. ;)

I think it's a fun idea and was written decently, I just think these are fairly well known concepts put into a gaming shaped box.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Gamification is a popular concept, and all too often books that talk about current trends tend to be wildly enthusiastic and anecdotal. What Michael Hugos has done is to develop a framework that he uses consistently through the book.

Mr. Hugos states convincingly that games have the following four elements: clear goals, consistent rules, effective feedback, and voluntary participation. He uses the framework throughout the book.

One of the things that I appreciated about the book is that Mr. Hugos gives examples where introducing gaming concepts into businesses have gone poorly. Understanding the limits of application are just as important as understanding the application areas.

The book is packed with examples and diagrams. The writing is conversational and accessible,

The concepts in this book nest nicely with research in other areas. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Ed Pink tells us that long term people are motivated by the desire for: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Mapping Hugos' concepts, autonomy maps fairly directly to voluntary participation. Purpose is a nice match with clear goals, and mastery flows from goals, rules, and feedback.

Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business is loaded with good examples that are mapped back to Hugos' four gaming characteristics.

All in all, a very good read that facilitates the reasonable application of gaming concepts to real world enterprises.

In service,

The Original Dr. Games since 1993
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stacie D. Wyatt on October 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
reviewed Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business, in exchange for honest review from O'Reilly Media. The book was written by Michael Hugo. I chose the book because I am trying to read more business and productivity books. Put my business management degree into use, one way or another.

The first thing, which stood out was the definition of games. Games are a)skill-based b)requires rules c)has voluntary participation and d)requires feedback (p. 1). Games also need a goal. Games also require engagement (participation and communication) from the players. What is the purpose of the game? Are you trying to win? Are you trying to achieve a specific monetary value? Are you trying to achieve a promotion? Are you seeking tangible or intangible rewards?

The book also discussed how employees want to be challenged. They want to maximize their strengths, talents, and creativity. A job can either motivate and encourage employees to improve or allow boredom and frustration to set in. For example, I had a volunteer job for a few weeks, working in an office. At first, I worked on the computer, creating documents for my supervisor, but then he had nothing for me to do. I had to find ways to stay busy such as cleaning up the office, since they was moving or asking other staff, if they needed something to be done.

The book was easy to read. It was not full of technical mumbo jumbo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Bess on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read a number of books on gamification and found this one to be the best discussing the issues of gamification in business. The book included a variety of examples that delve deeper into the relationship between goals, feedback and rules that aid the understanding of the reader no matter what business context they come from. It discusses the relationship between the game world and the real world and provides useful guidance on embracing game techniques in business.
I was a bit surprised it didn't include a section on unintended consequences and how to recognize and avoid them. This is an important step in a gamification deployment plan, since the side effects of measurement and behavior change can sometimes outweigh the intended benefit.
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