Blog Post

John Seely Brown and Doug Thomas on the Gamer as Entrepreneur

As an appetizer for next week HASTAC Scholar's forum on computer games,here are some points from a terrific article by John Seely Brown andDoug Thomas from the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW on the potential forleadership, in politics and commerce, of gameplaying, "The GamerDisposition." This appeared in the February 2008 issue and they have coauthored another piece in WIRED (April 2006) and have another one coming out soon in the INTERNTIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDIA AND LEARNING.   


JSB and Doug Thomas argue that potential leadership in politics and commerce may be an attribute that emerges from ?The Gamer Disposition.?   They note that multiplayer online games are ?large, complex, constantly evolving social systems.?  To succeed at them, requires the disposition that one wants in the workforce.  Seely and Thomas define five key attributes of what they term the ?gamer disposition?:  

(1) They are bottom-line oriented (since games have embedded systems of measurement and assessment);

(2) They understand the power of diversity (since success requires teamwork among those with a rich mix of talents and abilities);

(3) They thrive on change (since nothing is constant in a game);

(4) They see learning as fun (since the fun of the game lies in learning how to overcome obstacles); and

(5) They ?marinate? on the edge  (since, to succeed, they must absorb radical alternatives and imbibe innovative strategies for completing tasks).

It is hard to think of five better qualities for our always-on digital age.   This is the language of entrepreneurship, not cultural scholarship, but I find it also is adaptable to the most innovative and creative thinking in our field too.   I look forward to next week's Forum and to learning what our HASTAC Scholars have to add to this intriguing idea that gamers aren't (as the FBI implies) potential thugs but, rather, collaborative, edgy, and looking for change and ways to make change work.




Special thanks to Flickr member "srp6685" for this and many other screenshots from World of Warcraft that can be found by clicking on the image; that will also lead you to full documentation for this photographer. 




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