In Malaysia, when you are looking for help and the response is “can”, “can can” or “can la”, you have hit a can do attitude and something will happen. It is rare to receive a “no can do” answer, in all cases people will try to help or point you in the right direction. It is this kind of attitude that is making Asia such a growth market.
The last 10 days have been my fourth visit in the past 12 months and the various people I meet continue to impress me with their positive attitude, their willingness to try new things and their way deeper appetite for gaming and fun in business. I wonder if the collaborative or family oriented nature of business is a source of this fun spirit. They are always surprised when I state publicly that in Asia I find people understanding gamification at a much deeper level than elsewhere.
In my workshops around learning gamification and employee engagement through gamification the Asian market tops everyone else in terms of enthusiasm and the game examples they come up with at the end of day 2. I make my workshops as interactive as possible with a balance of theory and practise. In every single workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore, participants have often already tried gamification in their company to great effect and they want to hear further examples and confirm they are on a path that also follows best practise. In stark contrast in Europe most workshop participants have yet to try their first bit of gamification and at the end of 2 days, we rarely have a full blown game.
Part of the reason there is such a difference is that the European markets are stuck with industrial time processes and big dinosaur organisational structures. In contrast Asia’s companies are typically a lot bigger in terms of staff numbers and employee engagement comes with mobile first as a mindset. In the gaming market you find a lot less people in Asia that have never played a game on their phone, tablet or computer, whereas in Europe this is quite common and I may add that age is no differentiator here. I nearly got knocked out by a granny chasing Pokemon with her iPad earlier this year in Singapore, must say I have yet to find a granny in Europe with similar enthusiasm.
I also wonder if the generations at work have a bit to play in this equation or difference between Europe and Asia. The younger demographic is definitely winning in Asian markets and European societies have the reverse where the older age groups dominate and younger people find it harder to penetrate the world of work. Either way it is fun to work with this contrast. It makes me as a gamification practitioner step up and learn from differences and work with them at the same time. There is always scope for more than one way to create engaging gameplay for different work related purposes.
In an employee engagement conference this June in Amsterdam, one of the speakers shared that by 2050 the average global employee is likely to be Asian. So in my personal opinion, we better pay attention, learn and get ready to collaborate with the young power houses coming out the APAC region. I look forward to it and will be building towards a strong collaboration with partners in Asia.
In the mean time, I thank all the people in Malaysia that have made the last 10 days super memorable once again. I look forward to working with all of you again in the coming weeks or months. Thank you Talent Intelligence Asia and Tic Tac Toe Consulting for making these amazing experiences happen and for always making me feel so welcome! Until next time!