Michael Hugos

CIO, Center for Systems Innovation [c4si]
Chicago, IL, United States

About Michael


MICHAEL HUGOS is an author, speaker, award-winning CIO and principal at Center for Systems Innovation [c4si]. He delivers elegant solutions to complex problems with focus in supply chains, cloud computing, and use of game mechanics to redesign and reinvigorate business organizations. Earlier he spent six years as CIO of a national distribution organization where he developed a suite of supply chain and e-business systems that transformed the company's operations and revenue model. For this work he won the CIO 100 Award, the InformationWeek 500 Award and the Premier 100 Award. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is author of eight books including the popular Essentials of Supply Chain Management, reported by Amazon.com as the best selling supply chain book worldwide since 2004, and his newest book - Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business. He can be reached via his website - http://www.MichaelHugos.com.

Areas of Expertise

Agile Methodologies, Game Mechanics, Cloud Computing

An idea worth spreading

Games are as powerful for organizing knowledge work as assembly lines are for organizing industrial work. Application of game mechanics to knowledge work will create a surge in productivity and standard of living equivalent or greater than what happened when assembly lines were applied to industrial work.

I'm passionate about

Lean and agile business, art and technology


Northwestern - Kellogg

Talk to me about

Use of game mechanics to improve productivity and solve national and global problems

People don't know I'm good at

World history, in particular the history of the Late Roman Empire

My TED story

I applied game mechanics to quickly improve the operations of the supply chain that delivered most of the paper cups and other non-food items to 4,500 Starbucks stores in the United States. Building on what Jane McGonical calls the "four game traits" - Goals, Rules, Feedback Systems and Voluntary Participation - I created a simple real-time feedback system that let all the companies in the supply chain see overall supply chain performance day by day and also individual performance of participating companies. Since all companies had a common goal to improve supply chain performance, and the rules were already laid out in service contracts, the introduction of this simple feedback system allowed all parties to see for themselves what was happening and collaborate on their own initiative to respond to problems and improve performance. I write about it in my newest book - Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business.

Comments & conversations

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Michael Hugos
Posted over 1 year ago
Level 1 Social Entrepreneur - Gaming principles to solve rural electrification in Africa.
Hi James - You are onto a great idea to use gaming to address rural electrification in Africa. And I think there is confusion about what games can do and how they do it. When you say make projects "fun" for the locals it sends a message to some people (like the locals) that people think they are children who can be amused by simple toys. Then people feel that games are being used to fool them or manipulate them. The real power of games is to bring people together and focus them on achieving common goals by working collaboratively. Jane McGonigal in her book, Reality is Broken, says games have four traits: 1) Goals; 2) Rules; 3) Feedback Systems; and Voluntary Participation. The place to start is to provide feedback systems. Your idea about earning points is a feedback system. Expand on that. Let everybody see the points that people are earning (like a leaderboard) and make sure everybody feels the rules are applied fairly so people actually do the work to earn points and don't cheat. That simple feedback system will encourage more and more participation by more people - assuming they feel the goal is worth their time and they feel the rules are reasonable and applied fairly. Then people will start to see how they can collaborate so they can all earn more points and use their points to get things they want. Daniel Pink in his book, Drive, says people like work that makes them feel they are part of something bigger than themselves where they can achieve meaningful goals and get better and better at what they do. Use those drivers. It will be "fun" but will also be more serious and substantial. Jane McGonigal calls it "hard fun". I have applied these principles and more to the way we can structure work and I provide specific case studies of this in my book, Enterprise Games. You can get it as a Kindle book on Amazon. You have a good idea. Keep with it.