Ross Smith

Director of Engineering, Skype Customer Connection for Skype / Microsoft

Ross is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and blogger. Author of The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention and holds eight patents.

Developed 42projects which focuses on management innovation, trust, and the application of games at work. He has been a frequent speaker at the Serious Games Summit, Serious Play, and the Gamification Summit – and works with teams inside and outside Microsoft on deploying games in the workplace, including the Windows Language Quality game.

He is a member of the Leadership Council for the Anita Borg Institute and is of “gender partner” discussions at the IEEE Women in Technology and National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) Summit and TechCrunch. Work with iUrbanTeen and Native Americans at Microsoft.

To help develop the next generation’s interest in STEM, he works with Skype in the Classroom program events like this recent day at Microsoft . He was invited to the White House for discussion on women in STEM. Keynote speaker for the ARTBA’s Transovation 2014. The work of his teams have been mentioned in Forbes, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, PSFK, the American Journal of Play, Harvard Business Review, and the London School of Business. He is a blogger for SHRM and has worked on Skype Translator

Talk Description:

Using Games and Play to Drive Online Community Engagement

We have been using games and play in our software engineering process for many years. Amongst the key learnings over time was the requirement to keep game play short (weeks) in order to keep the interest of “players” to essentially do crowdsourced testing and QA work. We had the luxury and being able to build short online games that integrated with product telemetry and feedback tools to enable “the crowd” to “play” while they tested our pre-release software. We have now moved to a world where we need sustainable “play” – in a world where online community members, ambassadors, and moderators are always helpful – over the long term – and how do we design game mechanics, leverage reputation, and drive engagement over the long term.

This talk would cover a brief history our games in software engineering, and focus on our (ongoing) lessons learned with game mechanics in our Skype online community.

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