How Incentive and Gamification Increase Productivity
BY MAUREEN MURTHA | 2 min read

Deloitte, the second largest professional services network in the world, has recently started screening apprentices with the aid of a video game. That is some pretty significant news. If you didn’t know, Deloitte employs more than 200,000 consultants globally and reports more than 35 billion dollars in annual revenue. So, if one of the largest consultancies is using video games for assessment, what might this mean for entrepreneurs?

Well, as Anya Kamenetz published in Psychometric Considerations in Game-Based Assessment, this evolution in testing and education is “like going from a bar code to a photograph.”

If game-based assessments can give admissions officers insights into candidates’ creativity, help teachers recognize the struggles of their students and provide employers with cost-effective alternatives to training seminars. It's reasonable to imagine game-based assessments designed in a way that would help improve the performance of entrepreneurs.

Mario’s Plumbing Business

What if, in addition to rescuing Princess Peach, players had to help Mario establish a new plumbing company?

Might the Lara Croft designers include gameplay in which players had to apply for grants and balance their budgets as they prepare for an excavation?

What if Halo had the option of entrepreneurship, coaching players through intergalactic innovation?: Research, development, patenting, and the contracting of weapons, vehicles, or protective gear?

This all might sound outlandish, but business components are already very common in video games: Madden NFL allows gamers to swap players, create merchandise, and build stadiums. Grand Theft Auto was full of enterprising activities. Don’t forget: World of Warcraft and other RPG/RTS games which allow people to build their skills and sometimes earn real money performing tasks within the game. Only minor modifications would be required to have a game that the Small Business Administration would use to assess aspiring entrepreneurs.

But what, exactly, would they measure with this tool? The answer is psychometric data. This is an objective collection of behavioral data points, and a typical game designed for this has more than 3,000 data points every playthrough.

Why is this helpful? Well, there are two main reasons.

Poor self-assessment

Whether it's an optimist’s bias that makes an individual dangerously optimistic or low-self esteem that causes self-sabotage, entrepreneurs, like all humans, have behaviors which are outside of their self-awareness. Game-based assessment helps reveal the blindness-by-bias through objective observation. 


If, after the first playthrough, a "wantrepreneur" receives an unfavorable assessment, that's not the end of the road. Rather, it provides an opportunity for them to pursue an additional amount of gameplay, which affords better understand their weaknesses and the means to improve over time. When their scores reach a certain level, the SBA could advise them to begin their quest into real-world entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, these assessment games could become so seamless that “beating the game” will mean that the person will have taken the first steps to creating a viable business model.

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