Can Xbox Lead a Civic Renewal?

Normally we write about innovations about gaming; but today we saw a piece how gaming can inspire innovation.

The post is by Robbie Bach, author of Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civil Renewal, joined Microsoft in 1988 and over the next twenty-two years worked in various marketing, general management, and business leadership roles, including working on the successful launch and expansion of Microsoft Office. As Chief Xbox Officer, he led the creation and development of the Xbox business, including the launch of the Xbox and the highly popular successor product, Xbox 360. He retired from Microsoft in 2010 as the President of the Entertainment and Devices Division.

Bach writes: “Despite all of this creativity and technical aptitude, one still has the sense that our country is in the midst of a civic crisis. When I left Microsoft four years ago, my eyes were opened to the world beyond my business myopia: income inequality is at historic highs, racial discord is on the rise, government gridlock is rampant, public trust is at an all-time low, and looming, long-term issues are being ignored. In fact, when one looks under the covers, our country is at a pivotal crossroads – a place where we must answer the bell to address these critical social and economic issues. So the question before us is how we marry the wealth of creative thinking led by our business community with the needs we have in our civic institutions? Can we take our innovation DNA and apply it to the civic issues that are going to re-shape our country over the next twenty years?”

“I think of this work as Civic Engineering – applying all of our skills and talents to problems that affect our local, state, and national communities. If we could create an army of civic engineers, where would we apply their talents? To borrow from the world of venture capital, what are the disruptive areas we can explore to change the course of our civic institutions so that they serve their customers effectively.”

He lists “three civic areas ripe for disruption that will change us for better or worse over the next twenty years where American innovation could be applied in a powerful way:”

  • Energy and the Environment
  • Economic Opportunity and the Safety Net
  • Infrastructure

Separately, E3 Insider runs an interview with Bach, where he discusses the Xbox launch problems, Halo, the 3P Framework, and more.


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