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Funtime Friday: Pokémon Lessons for Digital Business

Appian Contributor
July 15, 2016

I love Pokémon GO! Pikachu

Like many are, you might say I’m addicted.

Hold on. Let me back up.

Unless you’ve been stranded on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific, you’ve most likely heard about the newest gaming sensation that is Pokémon GO.  This augmented reality app has seen unimaginable growth in its first couple of weeks.

For those few Pacific strandees, Pokémon GO is a location-based augmented reality game that melds our real world with the fictional Pokémon universe. Players are tasked with walking around in our real world to find new Pokémon in the virtual world on their phone.  After stumbling upon one of these wild creatures, players use their phone camera to survey their surroundings, find the creatures, and then flick Pokeballs in gameplay until the creatures are hit.

It may sound weird, but let me tell you! It is wildly entertaining!

It got me thinking as I begin my new gig in product marketing at Appian. Pokémon GO has a lot to do with our universe! The one where we strive to deliver the best for our customers!

With this in mind, here are three things digital we can learn from Pokémon GO.

1) What’s vital for success? Mobile!

For years Pokémon has operated almost solely on handheld Gameboy and DS devices. But, in recent years Nintendo was struggling—unable keep up in the console industry—and casual mobile gaming seemingly overtook handheld devices. Finally, Nintendo ventured into mobile... So far? It’s looking wildly successful, generating a $7.5 billion increase in net worth for the company! This is a prime example of just how important mobile is to all customers. Mobile is no longer a choice; it’s an imperative.

Lesson: Make sure your business is mobile. Empower your employees to get work done wherever and whenever they may be. Allow your customers to engage with you on their terms

2) Inclusive collaboration spawns success.

CharmanderPokémon GO has turned the gaming world upside down with its ability to get users to interact with each other about their experiences—and people are loving it. Players are prompted to join one of three teams when they reach Level 5; this has generated a sense of community, as users want to help each other “catch ‘em all!”

Conversely, in business, collaboration is often limited to in-person meetings or phone calls where if you’re not invited, you’re not a part of the conversation.

Lesson: Make collaboration inclusive; avoid limiting it to invitation-only events. When employees can share, collaborate, and comment freely, a whole new level of productivity happens.

3.) “Easy” drives adoption.

The phenomenon of Pokémon GO has been incredible! So what makes Pokémon GO really special? The simplicity of the game allows seasoned veterans and rookies alike understand the concept at the same level. It really is as simple as walk, click, look, and catch!

Lesson: Make it easy, and people will use it. If you make sure the technology you roll out across your business is easy to build...easy to use...easy to change, you’ll find everyone in your organization is not just willing, but happy to take part.

Pokémon GO may be a virtual world meant for catching Pikachus, Charmanders, and the like, but the principles behind its success can translate into our world as well. Understand what customers are looking for and adapt to meet needs.

We may never become Pokémon masters, but we all can become digital masters!

Dalton Scanlon