"Serious and boring are not the same thing"

Joaquim Campa, director of Human Resources at Social Point, supports the role of play as an element of personal and professional growth within companies

Joaquim Campa was one of the keynote speeches in the 2nd Barcelona HR Conference
Joaquim Campa was one of the keynote speeches in the 2nd Barcelona HR Conference
"You are not professional enough because you do not play enough," said Joaquim Campa, director of Human Resources at Social Point, in his speech to the 2nd Barcelona HR Conference. Campa is part of one of the companies with most potential in the country. It is a company that makes video games and has millions of followers around the world. It is also a company that, as he himself says, "has more hairdressers than printers: one".

This week Barcelona is hosting the Gamification World Congress. And the truth is that playing in the office is now in fashion. Obviously, at Social Point, they know what this world is all about and will get their employees together at a weekend to see who can design the best game in 48 hours. It is a level of involvement and motivation that can only be understood through the concept of play. Campa supports the need for play so that a person can grow in all senses.

Can all aspects of a company be gamified?
Yes, everything can be gamified if you are creative. Putting barriers at different levels of the company just creates barriers to overcome! For example, in online marketing to get new clients, from the point of view of listening to your clients, in improving your products... All of that, with the basic elements of gaming, of interacting, of receiving rewards, of having objectives that can be shared to obtain the necessary information and turn it into something positive; these things apply to almost anything.

What are the advantages?
The results, especially if they are business improvements. If you open up a competition to all of the employees saying that you want to bring out a new product but that there are some problems; everyone begins to think about it. The one who improves the situation or who wins can be given a reward. In this way, a business problem that might remain with the board, can involve all of the employees thinking about a better solution. Another example, applied to Human Resources, is learning. We live accumulating knowledge and memory, but what is consolidated are experiences. And there is no experience as satisfying as playing!

Nevertheless, play is generally associated with childhood...
Yes, and that is a good example. When you are small, you play a game like chess, where you use strategic thinking. At school you do not develop strategic thinking and so one day you have to sign up for a very expensive masters course in a business school to learn something about strategy. The education system has taken things from you that companies will ask for, such as strategic thinking.

You mean we have to recover the essence of play...
The thing is it is absurd. We learn most in our fourth year of life, which is when our minds are blank slates and there is room for lots of things; but the way of stimulating a child is through play. Having to stop playing something because it is not considered important enough doesn't make sense. You only have to look at the professionals who take risks. To drive a car you have to practise for weeks, to fly a plane you have to play on a simulator for months, and if you want to be an astronaut you have to play in a simulator for years! There is always an element of play in the most serious things. People often think serious means boring.

Are these ideas about playing gaining ground in companies?
Yes, but especially among the new generation, who understand this much more. The old model was correct, which was understood from the point of view that knowledge was something people have. If you build up your knowledge, your professional value grows. But today you cannot beat Google with knowledge. It has more content and knowledge than you, and it is just a simple click away. What can truly make the difference are skills and abilities. If your skill is being able to interview people, you need to practise over a period of years, or to role play it. At the end of the day, an interview is no more than a kind of game between two people telling lies! We play much more than we think. The new generations, with this mix of society and technology, will take this further. In fact, it is already a business. It is growing a lot and there are now companies that are making mobile games to teach specific skills.
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