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The survival of recruitment, work and the world depends on this face

This is the face captured by photographer Phil Toldano and explained in the excellent Ted talk (embedded below) by game designer Jane McGonigal. It captures the emotion of gaming. Toldano set up a camera in front of gamers while they were playing. McGonigal in the video alerts us to the subtle nuances in this photo:

the sense of urgency, a little bit of fear, but intense concentration, deep deep focus on tackling a really difficult problem.
The crinkle of the eyes up, and around the mouth is a sign of optimism. And the eyebrows up is surprise. This is a gamer who is on the verge of something called an epic win.

McGonigal explains an epic win as an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive you have no idea it was even possible until you achieved it. McGonigal stresses this is the face that we need to see on millions of problem solvers if we want to survive the next century on this planet.

In the video McGonigal explains the rationale behind her thinking. Listen to her gob-smacking stats on gaming and why she believes we must increase gaming hours to at least 21 billion hours a week, by the end of the next decade.


This post builds on the thinking outlined in my last two posts Recruitment and addictive gaming and Turning jobseekers into crazed fans. I'm forming the opinion that the HR and recruitment industries need to get to grips with communities and industries happening outside their immediate realm. There needs to be transformation. At the very least there needs to be deeper understanding or greater collaboration with these groups. We are starting to see big brands infiltrating social gaming (eg), but we need to take the principles and emotions of gaming and build these into recruitment and HR processes.


Anyway, here are some questions to think about as you watch the video:

  • What would happen to your workplace, recruitment approach, and employment brand if McGonigal took over the HR or recruitment function?
  • Are you trying to create an environment that fosters epic wins online and offline?
  • Do your existing processes, technologies, careers sites, ATSs etc encourage or stifle epic wins?
  • Are you, your employees, clients and jobseekers experiencing epic wins?


Possibly this is all a bit too radical, but it makes you think.


Enjoy the video:


Video link






Views: 137

Tags: TED, farmville, gaming, recruitment

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