Every now and then you come upon something that is just impressive.
Usually, these days it comes from companies like Google or Apple – and sometimes it comes from EMC – and sometimes it comes from Microsoft.
I subscribe to Microsoft’s Research Blog and in their stream of content and news, I noticed something really cool – the ability to learn the new Office 2010 in a game-like fashion with scoring and points and achievement goals.
The idea is to complete routine (and some advanced) office tasks using the new Ribbon interface at the top of the Office menu. Insert and style this picture. Make this part of a picture transparent. Change the layout of this. In the process I learned a bunch of things about Excel, Word, and PowerPoint that I am already using again and I didn’t have to spend all day at a class (and no you don’t have to share your score with your Facebook friends and start the next Mafia Wars, Farmville, Fish Pond game hate fest).
We all need training on stuff, even if seems to be second nature like Word, Excel, PowerPoint (provided you use these tools with some regularity). And if more companies can make learning their software fun, and somewhat achievement oriented, then their software also gets stickier.
Once a product is sticky, it makes it harder for them to switch.
And when people don’t want to switch, you continue selling the worlds most successful office productivity suite.
The big question is this: Can you beat 246 in Word??