SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring John Seely Brown, independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and adviser to the provost and visiting scholar at the University of Southern California.
Due to the nature of the online game, high-level players of World of Warcraft make better employees than those who have an MBA from Harvard, John Seely Brown, independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge and adviser to the provost and visiting scholar at the University of Southern California, says. He points out that in order to become a high-level player of the game, one has to have both the ability and the drive to adapt to thousands of new ideas, work in groups and constantly measure his or her own performance.
On any given night one might play World of Warcraft, Seely Brown says there will be about 15,000 new strategic ideas that are created around the world. In order to achieve a high level in the game, a player has to interpret what all these new ideas mean for his or her play and make the proper adjustments. In the corporate world, on the other hand, 10 new ideas is an overload, he says.
He also notes that high-level players often have to operate within guilds made up of 100 to 200 players to be successful. The guilds develop their own constitutions and operate as meritocracies, assigning the refinement of different skills to different players and measuring each other, all for the love of the game and nothing more. “They don’t have a bonus structure to guide them to incent them,” Seely Brown says. “Only passion, only interest works. ”
To become a high-level player in these guilds and the complex worlds in which they exist, Seely Brown says one must also be diligent and effective when it comes to measuring him or herself through the use of dashboards. Considering that measurements in the corporate world are most often imposed by managers, he says an employee who is motivated to monitor him or herself with the goal of improving performance is an interesting concept.
It is for these reasons that Seely Brown says high-level World of Warcraft players make ideal employees. “[I]t gets back to this notion of passion, it gets back to this notion of curiosity, and it gets back to this notion that this is an interest-driven phenomenon that unleashes exponential learning of a dimension that’s almost unimaginable any other way,” he says.