Spotlight: Aaron Dignan

The CEO of digital shop Undercurrent clowns around a bit in his SoHo office

Aaron Dignan has a word of advice: Make work more like play.

Dignan, a Gen Y technophile and CEO of Undercurrent, a digital consulting firm, advances his philosophy in a new book, Game Frame. A look at the psychology of why games are so addictive, the book also considers how businesses can similarly hack into the human brain’s wiring, leveraging neurological impulses like desire, to get employees to be more efficient or consumers to spend more.

Take, for instance, online fundraising platform Kickstarter. It turns one person’s project into a kind of game where donors earn rewards—if the cause they invest in becomes fully funded. Bonus: Donors learn something too. “Kickstarter has the potential to teach you to be a better VC, a better investor,” Dignan says. With some tweaking, it could “help you [learn to] better evaluate ideas, better choose.”

Dignan’s research for the book prompted him to add a game designer to the ranks of strategists at his four-year-old company, which advises global giants like Pepsi, GE, and Estée Lauder. The new hire, Dignan says, “sees the whole world as a game.”

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