World of Warcraft-style collaboration could benefit businesses

Organisations could learn a great deal from the innovation and collaboration demonstrated by gamers in World of Warcraft, according to research.

Indeed, the gaming collaborative mentality has already been exploited to good effect using open source, according to report author Deloitte.

Gamers have to deal with an "ever-changing, ever uncertain environment" where they must pioneer new techniques and strategies that could prove "highly relevant" to the business world.

In the report, Deloitte used the example of the "knowledge economy" springing up around the World of Warcraft that included discussion forums, wikis, databases and instructional videos.

But what the researchers found particularly interesting was that the more participants (which were in the millions) and more interactions, the faster their rate of performance grew and the better they became at playing.

The knowledge sharing in the World of Warcraft has been dubbed 'institutional innovation', even going far as gamers using spreadsheets to pool their data and work more efficiently.

"The collaboration curve is emerging not just in online gaming but also in open source software development," the report said.

Deloitte used the example of the Eclipse Foundation, an organisation that used the same principles of institutional innovation.

It was an open source system targeted at building commercial platforms for growing markets, which had companies like Nokia, IBM and Cisco among its members.

Eclipse was tying to build platforms for industries like healthcare IT and already had close to 100 open source projects, by using similar collaborative techniques and co-innovation evident in games like World of Warcraft.