There is a piece in the January 2012 issue of Wired about Cow Clicker – a satire of some of the popular games people play on the Internet today (Sorry the January issue is not on line yet when I wrote this, but it might be by the time you read it).
One of the areas covered near the end is the concept of gamification – using game mechanics to influence real-world behavior. This is an area being researched as a way to improve the worker experience for business functions that have been considered menial and frustrating. Other people view it less positively as “exploitware”.
You may ask “Can sitting on a help desk and answering calls from consumers be turned into a competitive game that improves the experience for everyone?”, well it turns out it can. Many activities can be tracked, rewarded and tuned to the needs of the day. You can actually give points for things like "resetting passwords", "resolving install problems"... as long as the points mean something to the individuals doing the tasks.
Human behavior can be manipulated by just pulling on a few of the right strings. This is one way businesses today can tap into the stream of human intellect to drive value from the vast amounts of information and interaction that is possible today. This is a concept I think we'll be seeing applied much more in the future. Consumerization can cut both ways. If people are spending significant amounts of personal time planting, cultivating and harvesting virtual crops, there is something to be learned for businesses.