I was listening to a random piece on NPR, which I admit is where I frequently come up with ideas for posts, when I heard a CEO of a gaming company talk about their shift in strategy. They, like many in gaming, are shifting from writing long-form games meant to be played for hours (or at least tens of minutes) to games for our iPads, pods, phones, etc. They are hardly alone in this… Open up the app store on your favorite device, and thousands of companies you’ve never heard of are trying to make it big in the new world of games.
But in this interview, the CEO used a word to describe his games that I’d not heard before. He wants to make his games, “snacky”. What a great description of how we play games on mobile devices, right? We pick them up, play for a few seconds or minutes. Put it down, and pick it up again in a few minutes. Designing games like this is actually quite hard, but when done right, they can be big hits. (now, if this idea isn’t familiar to you yet, please, stop reading and go directly to your mobile device and download Fruit Ninja. I apologize in advance for getting you hooked.) “Snacky” games are played for seconds or minutes. Other games are played much longer.
So now let’s talk HR tech, where all of the buzz is about, “gamification”. Software developers want to make our HR software more useable, and dare we say…. Fun. This is welcome news, since much of what has existed in the past has needed an owners manual the size of my Dad’s Buick to operate. There are more and more excellent iPad apps for HR and managers to use. User interfaces are improving.
Here’s my question. Are we in HR Tech rushing to gamification, when we should be rushing to not just make our software easier to use, but also, “Snacky”? Are we building based on the last idea (gamification), and not leaping ahead to how users want to use software today? (I’m really asking this as a question, would love to hear your thoughts.)
What would a snack-sized HR system even look like? How would managers uses it?
The possibilities are enormous. Real time feedback on employees based on 2 swipes of the thumb. Posting a job to the world by pushing it into a cloud. The boring stuff could be fun.
If you’re in the software side of HR, please… Cut the Rope, slash some fruit with a sword, take a Jungle Run, and come on back to tell us if there’s room in HR for some snacks.