PSFK Conference Speaker Interview: Aaron Dignan

The CEO of Undercurrent, NYC shares his thoughts on the future of gaming technology.

Aaron Dignan will be one of the speakers at our upcoming PSFK CONFERENCE NY 2011. Aaron’s first book, Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success, was released in March. As a founding partner and CEO of the digital strategy firm Undercurrent based here in New York, Aaron advises global brands and complex organizations like GE, PepsiCo, Ford, and Estée Lauder on their future in an increasingly technophilic world. In anticipation of the conference, we bring you a few thoughts from Aaron:

You’ve long been a gamer and game-enthusiast. Other than this general enthusiasm, was there a specific moment or experience that led you to pursue studying game mechanics?

I watched the rise of eBay, Facebook, Twitter, and countless other sites and starting noticing patterns of behavior across all of them. It felt like my peer group was making a game out of everything, and I wanted to know why certain game-like experiences were so compelling.

What is the most exciting challenge or idea you’re addressing right now?

I’m fascinated with eliminating boredom at the ground level of the work force. I see cashiers and waiters that are wildly intelligent and under-stimulated in their jobs. I think a few small adjustments could change that dramatically.

What other projects are currently inspiring your work?

I’m intensely passionate about the work Salman Khan is doing with khanacademy.org — I think that is a glimpse of the future. I’m also blown away by the Quest to Learn educational program here in New York.

What trend or idea in the field of game mechanics and theory are your excited to see develop in the future?

I think simply the idea that skills and learning are at the center of good games (and all good experiences) is a powerful realization, and one that many proselytizers of game mechanics have ignored. Human beings are learning machines. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Thanks, Aaron!

Aaron will be speaking at PSFK CONFERENCE NY 2011. Come listen to like minds as they share their ideas to make things better on stage and off. Find out more about the full lineup of speakers at the PSFK CONFERENCE NY 2011 here.

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