What Your Business Can Learn from Video Games

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on March 01, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Project Management

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I’m not much into video games. I have nothing against them (although they can eat up time like crazy) but I just have other things on my radar that are more pressing for me. Regardless, I can appreciate a good video game, not just for its artistry but for what it can teach business owners:

Video games are a great intersection between technical proficiency, artistic ability, and user experience.

When those things intersect in the right ways, a compelling game is created. Your business is similar:It’s an intersection between those three things.

  • You need technical proficiency to make sure your website and backoffice operations are running correctly
  • You need artistic ability in your design, branding, marketing, content creation, packaging,
  • You need a positive user experience throughout the entire process, from the time someone first interacts with your business until long past the time that they’ve purchased and used your products.

Since there is a clear link between video game excellence and business excellence, there are a few things we might be able to learn from video games that we can apply to business.

The first thing we can learn is this: You can’t do it all alone. There are very few video games designed and successfully distributed by just one person. (There might be some but I’m sure those are the exception). Instead, it takes a team approach, with each person leveraging the things they are good at, to make it happen.

The second thing we can learn is closely related to the first thing: A team is not made up of people who do the same things. Each person brings something different to the table and, as a result, business owners end up doing the hard work of managing projects to keep everyone happily collaborating.

The third thing we can learn is this: The most successful projects – whether video games or businesses – are achieved when the business-owner/project-manager acts as a visionary head and relies on the team to work together. (Compare this to the more frequent circumstance where business owners are familiar with their small slice of business and try to shoehorn others to fit their ideas).

What inspired me to write this blog was an article I read in the New York Times called: “On Will Wright’s Team, Would You Be a Solvent or the Glue?”  Will Wright is the guy who created the Sim line of games, starting with SimCity (and all of its iterations) and most recently “The Sims” series (and a bunch of other games I confess I’ve never heard of). So if there’s anyone who knows how to take a team of disparate people and create something popular, it’s Will Wright.

This article should be a must-read for any business owner or project manager to learn how to get different people to work together to create something. Be sure to read all 3 pages of the article and get ready to take notes.

Happy Blogging!

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