Games are the Most Important Design Tool that No One is Using.

If you’re serious about the future of ideas, you should be thinking seriously about games.

What we perceive as a video game has expanding over time to be more inclusive, more experimental, and more engaging. This is an important step in maturity. Simultaneously, I think the dialogue around games is shifting. We’re learning to understand them better and use them more beneficially.

Think about this, in the last 10 years we’ve made interactive experiences the center of our culture and economy. As we evolve past the novelty that digital culture provides, we‘re looking for greater depth in our interactions. Games are a critical next step because they have the power to drive a deeper sense of empathy and engage us in deep flow to develop incredible problem solving skills. That doesn’t mean everything will be built around play. Rather we will design in a manner that echoes the same powerful mechanisms that are built into playful experiences.

Games will also continue to usher in the most innovative ideas and products. Successful ideas are often built on the backs of games and play. Slack was built by a team of game developers. Tinder is designed on an addictive game play loop. Snapchat has driven their growth by continually prioritizing fun as a product experience over everything else. All of these products have introduced creative and productive cultures as essentials that we’ve weaved into our daily lives. And as Pokemon Go is renewing a discussion about augmented reality as a useful technology, so will other new, fringe or undiscovered technologies rely on games to emerge to widespread consumer adoption.

Any product designer, startup, company or corporation that’s thinking about commanding the future of tech must think about play as a driving force.