GCo’s Picks: How Microsoft’s Ross Smith Redefines Productivity with Games

GCo’s Picks: How Microsoft’s Ross Smith Redefines Productivity with Games


Microsoft’s Ross Smith and his Productivity Games

GamificationCo has asked some its editors for their top sessions picks for GSummit SF 2013. Here is Sudarshan Gopaladesikan’s most anticipated session for GSummit:

I love risk-taking. As a junior in college, I have the notion that the workforce won’t allow me to take any risks because safe, but sure investments/ideas are less unpredictable to a company’s profits. Looking through the sessions at GSummit (all of them are great!), Ross Smith–Director of Test at Microsoft–will be speaking on how trust among colleagues can foster individual innovation, productivity, and risk-taking.

Ross Smith’s Biography

Ross Smith is the Director of Test at Microsoft, and he has been in the software industry for over 20 years. He has 5 software patents, and he is one of the authors of, “The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention.” He is currently researching the impact of games and social networking tools on management education and requisite skills for new managers. His work led to the creation of 42projects, which is an experiment that uses trust as the basis for promoting individual confidence, risk-taking, and creativity.

His work on productivity gaming for next-generation employees and management initiatives is a great example of how gamification has changed the professional landscape. Such an example is the Windows Language Quality Game, which was a successful initiative to find a cost-effective and fun way to increase the quality of the native language versions of Windows.

We are pleased to have him speak at GSummit. Ross’ talk will provide the best insight on how to effectively manage incoming Gen Y hires. If you get the chance to speak with Ross in person, be sure to ask him about the importance of reverse-mentoring programs and how it can tie into a productivity game.

Work/Play: How Microsoft Leads with Gamification

Ross understands the shifting demographics of the workforce and believes that companies need to redefine how work “works”. The future generation of employees, Gen Y, has grown up with technology integrated into their daily lives, effectively changing the way today’s world communicates, prioritizes, and produces. Gen X managers need to understand how to bring out the creativity of Gen Y’s unique talents rather than inhibiting possible risk-taking. To improve upon management and innovation, Ross Smith created productivity games.

Productivity games are a subset of serious games, and they incorporate using game elements to boost engagement and creativity of otherwise dull or difficult tasks. Ross believes that games and collaborative play help motivate and make work fun. His theory is that collaborative play builds trust among the players, and that trust leads to greater experimentation. A higher degree of experimentation leads to creativity, innovation, and increased personal satisfaction.

In a highly competitive business environment, composure is needed at all levels to ensure a high quality product and quality of life for employees. Composure starts with trust, and trust can be built with productivity games.

Register today for GSummit SF 2013 and join Ross’s session on how Microsoft has been using game elements to boost productivity, creativity, and innovation.


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