Vorsorge für die Nachfolge zu treffen zählt zu den schwierigsten unternehmerischen Aufgaben. Planen ohne Ego, alles übergeben, loslassen – diese Eigenschaften gehören nicht ins Regelrepertoire von Machertypen. Und doch müssen immer mehr genau das tun. Denn bei Zehntausenden Betrieben in Deutschland stehen die Inhaber kurz vor dem Rentenalter, Tausende Familienfirmen müssen verkauft werden. Die Zahl der Mitarbeiter, die in den nächsten Jahren von Nachfolgeregelungen abhängig sind, geht in die Millionen. Das Thema ist also wichtig. Und sensibel. Das bekam auch unsere Redaktion bei der Recherche zu spüren. Viele Unternehmer wollten sich nicht öffentlich äußern. Dass sie sich am Ende doch äußerten, können Sie in unserer Titelgeschichte nachlesen. „Kein Mensch ist unersetzbar in Geschäften“, schrieb Wilhelm von Humboldt 1832. Bis heute ist diese Erkenntnis der beste Ansatz für einen Inhaber, seine Nachfolge zu regeln.
The Flow in Games
The question how players can be intrinsically motivated to play or keep playing a game is the core of game design. McGonigal argues that players always try to reach the limits of their ability instinctively. During the course of a game, players cease to think and act reasonably compared to real-world practices. Instead, they seem to dive into the virtual world and start to focus on the peculiar reality of the game. This “narrowing of consciousness” is considered to be achievement-oriented motivation. That is why Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow has become the fundamental notion in the context of game design. As Csikszentmihalyi has proven in his studies, the large majority of people does not perceive playing as an effort, even if it is intellectually challenging like chess. He describes the state of flow is an autotelic experience that is “the holistic sensation that people feel when they act with total involvement” and “heavily concentrate on the game blocking out their environment completely”.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow happens in the moment when the opportunity to do something is in balance with the personal capabilities to pursue this task. In other words, when a person perceives the tasks as too challenging for his own capabilities, it results in stress. This stress is experienced either as worry or even anxiety depending on how big the gap between capability and the executed task is. On the other side, a person experiences boredom when his skills exceed the chances to make use of them. In extreme cases this can also result in anxiety. So to speak, the autotelic experience is in the middle between worry and boredom where a conscious intervention of the player is not required. This state can be seen as a merging of self and environment where the person in flow has the feeling of control of his actions. Castronova translates this theory into the game context: “Some of the critical elements for inducing flow are immediate feedback, a clear sense of objectives and failure states, and a challenge level that is not too easy or too hard.” Although this explanation is far from being coherent, it sets the fundamental requirements for a flow-like experience while playing a game. Castronova argues that these elements are a recipe for game happiness. In a broader sense, players like to get better at what they do and learn how the game works. Beside the sheer entertainment, this feeling of ‘working towards mastery’ is a core element of almost every game.
However, the flow model has its limits because neither personal skills nor the executed task can be judged objectively. The state of flow largely depends on the personal perception. Csikszentmihalyi’s approach only relies on the optimal fit of the degree of difficulty and a person’s capability. This only leads to ideal motivation when skills and goals are congruent with the personal motives. The state of flow is only reached if the personal attitude is supported by the affective preferences of the person and is not undermined by rival motivational preferences. Therefore, one can define intrinsic motivation as the congruence of explicit, self-assessed motives and implicit, rather unconscious motives. In other words, rational intentions and the emotional state of a person have to fit in order to reach intrinsic motivation – otherwise volition is needed to reach the goal. This extension to the notion of flow is important for the product development of many gamified productsbecause there are a lot of unconscious processes at play when it comes to social interactions among strangers. The challenge is to create flow-like experiences that are integrated in the daily routines of the user.
Motivation for Play
After having defined what games actually are it is now important to identify what motivates players to play games. The question whether intrinsic or extrinsic reward mechanisms have to be triggered in order to motivate players sustainably has been subject to many studies in recent years. At first sight, external influences play a major role in gaming and related marketing activities. That is why reward and incentive structures are an essential part of almost any game on the market. Game designer Radoff describes point systems and reward mechanisms as important “ways to provide the player with feedback that they are advancing toward something with emotional value”. Extrinsic motivation has an effect on strategic and even economic choice making as behavioral economists and related disciplines have stated.
In the context of games, designers make use of two psychological models that are an integral component of freemium-style games like Farmville. The endowment effect (valuing what is already possessed more than a new equivalent) and the loss of aversion moment (people cannot stand losing again what they have already won). Therefore, many (social) games try to engage players with a free start into the game. The engagement mechanism more or less works like a frequent flyer program where many travelers try to seek more bonus miles at the end of the year in order to enter the next status stage (because they hate losing their miles). Gamers who have built up a farm on Farmville keep playing because they hate giving up the established farm – even though it only exists in a virtual setting (Radoff & Beam, 2010). Although these systems seem to work quite well in some cases, the problem is that neither businesses nor games can be exclusively built upon this principle.
First and foremost, there must be an intrinsic driver that motivates people to play games on a sustainable basis. Intrinsic motivation can even be destroyed by extrinsic impulses if not implemented in a task-congruent way. Additional external incentives can even demotivate players when players perceive the action as fun already. Therefore, it is rather important to emphasize the positivistic nature of rewards. In a positive sense, the challenge is to make things, which are hard for people, intrinsically rewarding. Even marketing-oriented practitioners suggest that gamification should align the marketing-interest with the interest of the user and his implicit goals. In that sense, game mechanisms like reward systems and achievement levels should rather be implemented to support the implicit game experience and trigger intrinsic motivation.
Welcome to MEETROPOLY!
Learn more about my philosophy in this short presentation. Enjoy!
Business Model Generation in 2 Minutes. Enjoy!
Book Recommendation: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Among the many business books I have read in the last five years, the “Business Model Generation (BMG)” by Alexander Osterwalder has definitely the most impact on the way I approach business modeling today. The reason why this handbook simply changed the way I think about business models is simple: “BMG” manages to re-organize a very complex matter in a very simplistic and visual format. The business model canvas is a modular design system which correlates all the essential building blocks that make up a successful business model. The very appealing designs help to illustrate complex structures in a clear-cut visual structure. In case of this handbook the old proverb “a picture says more than a 1,000 words” is literally true.
Although BMG does not treat every part of a business model in great depth (especially the cost structure and the key resources need more in-depth consideration), it clearly teaches how existing business models work in different industries. While many business books fail to describe what makes good companies successful, Osterwalder manages to break down the success recipes of many sophisticated examples in simplistic illustrations.
But be careful: Solely because this compendium is so simple to understand that does not mean that BMG can provide all the input to the next killer innovation or multimillion dollar business. Unfortunately, life is not that easy. A lot of hard work and a solid dose of strategic thinking will still be necessary to take the most out of this book. Only if one understands the complex system behind the nine building blocks the book unravels it is full power. This way it represents a very valuable, inspiring, and of course enjoyable guide to design future business strategies.
More info @ www.businessmodelgeneration.com