Applying models and practices from gaming environments as a means to improve how organizations communicate has some intriguing possibilities. This article examines the use of currency and some tenets from the field of economics (scarce resources) as a means to encourage better behavior and attention management.
A cure for e-mail attention disorder?
Silicon Valley start-up develops system to help manage e-mail overload that borrows heavily from the virtual economies and currencies.
Images: Handling e-mail overload
By Daniel Terdiman
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: February 28, 2007, 4:00 AM PST
Corporate managers concerned about the amount of time employees spend sifting though mountains of unwanted e-mail may soon have World of Warcraft to thank for providing a solution.
That's because a Silicon Valley start-up called Seriosity has come up with a system to help manage e-mail overload that borrows heavily from the virtual economies and currencies found in WoW and other large-scale online games.
Known as Attent, Seriosity's system is essentially a new currency--called the Serio--that corporate e-mail users spend to indicate a message's importance: the more important they think the message is, the more Serios they spend on it. Recipients keep the Serios in the messages they get.
Similarly, when someone receives a message with Serios attached, they can indicate how important they think it is by responding with an appropriate number: none or very few if they think the message wasn't valuable, an equal number if they want the sender to know they appreciated the message or more than the original number to show they agree that it truly was crucial.
But Serios is a currency, and therefore a scarce resource, so users get a limited amount. The idea is that they have to spend the currency wisely, always making sure they have enough to send more with future messages.
And while the system, strictly speaking, is enterprise software, it was directly inspired by the virtual economies of online games like WoW. There, players accumulate gold or platinum pieces or some other form of currency and can spend them on weapons, armor, dwellings and the like that themselves have real monetary value as demonstrated by what people will pay for them on auction and third-party Web sites.
Ultimately, the point of Serios is to help large enterprises manage their employees' attention.