I’ve recently been told I reside too much in the theoretical. A friend and I have careers that have some content overlap so that leads to discussions about some of the things/events we do at work. I was talking about gamification of performance at work and how various elements of gamification could improve a number of measures. Then she asked, “what would that look like in a practical application?” and I totally blanked.
Gamification of work and performance is not a new idea and I haven’t read a lot about it so I’m not the expert but I saw a couple of dots that could be connected, based on what I knew. The thing I wasn’t able to do at that point was articulate exactly how those mechanics played out in real world.
I’d always considered myself an ‘ideas man’ which had always served me well, but I hadn’t thought of the drawbacks I might have been experiencing as someone who wasn’t firmly planted in reality.
This is dangerously close to the different between and good learning objective and bad one. A good objective has tangible evidence of a new concept, which for businesses that don’t use faith as a measurable is ideal. It gives both the trainer and the trainee an image of what success will look like when the training is over, allowing both parties to know if the training was successful.
So were my ideas bad? Inventors spend a lot of time making useless stuff before making a world changer. It is wasted time, though? Objectives are built to provide a behaviour stop gap. It’s probably best to look at what’s needed and then find a tool or concept to fill that gap. The idea of doing something on a ipad just to make it cool doesn’t really satisfy a need or gap.
But how do we find out about these ideas and tools unless we implement them in different areas? How do we know everything that baking soda is good for unless we try it in a few different areas to see what happens?
I’m not sure if this is a text-book chicken/egg scenario, but I think we all find ourselves on the continuum from dreamer to practical. The best we can do is realize where we are on that scale and appreciate those that are on the other end.