CANNES 2013: PHD is a massive multi-player game

Omnicom's PHD media network is attempting to transform its approach to strategy and planning by adopting the principles of "gamification" to its business.

Since the start of 2013, and operating in beta, the company, which runs more than 70 offices in more than 60 markets, has used a global operating system called Source, enabling its employees to work together in real time.

Talking to Campaign ahead of a presentation at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Mark Holden, the worldwide strategy and planning director at PHD, said that the platform drew on similar ideas to any "massive multi-player online game".

Holden was inspired by game designer Jane McGonigal's book to add a game layer to the media agency’s  Source system. It means the 2,500 people in the network are also part of a massively multi-player game.

Holden said: "If you join PHD, you’re joining a media planning and buying company of course, but as of 2013, you are also joining a massively multi-player online game.

"That’s because everything that we do as an agency has now been done in a touch screen multi-player environment, and that makes work more like play, and that’s the way that PHD is now."

PHD’s session later today will explore the science behind how gamers are developing real-life super powers and rewiring their brains to be more resilient – and explore how people can work together to harness gamers' extreme-scale collaboration skills for socially positive ends.

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