Copy & Paste is an Excellent Idea

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I am nothing if not unoriginal.

I don’t know who said that first, but it obviously wasn’t me. I am not the one with the ideas and in fact when I Google, ‘Where do Ideas come from?’ it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Seth Godin’s blog is the first hit. That man. Is a genius.

And I’m not the first one to have said that either.

One evening in 2009, after playing the top gaming app Doodle Jump multi-player on my iPhone – and winning – for the 20th time, I said idly to my boyfriend (the loser):

‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant if my consultancy website could keep people as addicted as Doodle jump?’

He said. ‘Sure the game is fun, but it would be dull as hell if all you had was a little jumping bug to look at. What makes it really interesting is the leaderboard. It’s the competition. Make people compete against one another and they’ll start falling over themselves to get ahead.’

‘You’re brilliant.’ I said giving him a kiss. ‘I could incorporate a game into my website. I love games.’

And then I remembered I wasn’t a game designer. Just one more thing I wasn’t.

‘Or….I could take a game and apply the game principles to my business. Gamification is the new buzz word.’

‘What does that even mean?’ he said.

‘What I just said.’ I said.

‘How are people going to get ahead then? Am not sure jumping bugs go well with strategic finance consultancy.’

‘It depends on the kind of game’. I said. ‘Some are more geeky and corporate. It could have points and levels for participation. Bonuses and penalties. Like Warblade – remember the old Amiga game?’

The look on my boyfriend’s face told me he wasn’t a Warblade-lover.

I can’t force people to enjoy their work just by building in principles of risk and reward. But I can help people enjoy their work environments better and help them to work around their families, with rewards for achievement to promote self-worth, and ratings from clients which can also serve as a ‘consultant’ accreditation system.

Because despite my working in the holidays, I do believe in working around more important priorities. The only reason we are able to be here in the wilds of the Swedish archipelago for 3 months over the summer holidays as opposed to our tiny house in Richmond Surrey, is because we have worked long and hard to incorporate an element of geographical freedom in our lives. Until September we’ll stay on this little island with no cars, where people still leave their doors unlocked and go to the beach after work.

The ultimate reward is this. My half Swedish daughter is happily getting to know the grandparents and the cousins she has never had the opportunity to love because of the distance that separates us. And she’s learning that nut-brown nakedness in nature is a far more pleasant state than wrapped-up English repression in the London smog.

She loves it here. And so do we.

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