The idea around Harry Potter was somewhat spontaneous, J. K. Rowling has said, a picture that came to life during a train trip to London. His adventures only truly took form six months later, giving flight to a business empire spanning adventure parks, baked goods and magic merchandise galore.
Given its success and hold over readers, it would hardly be surprising if numerous 11 year-olds waited patiently for their Hogwarts letters, only to curse their muggle parents later on for denying them one. But what if the contents of Rowling’s pages were real? What if magic was a daily part of our lives? More specifically, what if magic was acceptable in the working environment?
It’s a question we put to the business world, keen to find out what they would “swish and flick” their wands for.
With the gaming industry growing rapidly, and customer expectations running rampant, it would be apt to say people would jump onboard a magical offering.
Indeed, Mark Horneff, MD of Kuato Studios, thought it would give current games an extra touch – something good for office entertainment and the industry as a whole. He explained: “Even without sorcery, the video games business has evolved rapidly, seeing the rise of augmented reality (AR, Pokémon GO-style) and virtual reality (VR), with computer games now rivalling the film industry for revenue.
“Nonetheless, as any fan of Harry Potter will recall, the first book and film feature a particularly memorable scene involving a life-sized game of chess. While that particular game may be a touch too dramatic to benefit businesses, a magic spell to transform video games into life-sized experiences would create unprecedented engagement with players
“This way, as well as being far more visually arresting, anyone else could participate in the fun as a spectator – irrespective of owning a VR headset. For the UK economy, this could be a valuable spell. Between 2016 and 2021, Britain’s VR industry is expected to grow at a swifter rate than any other entertainment and media industry; PwC forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 76 per cent to a value of £801m in 2021, making it the fastest-growing and largest VR industry in EMEA.
“By augmenting the VR experience with magic to what developers might term ‘immersive reality’ (IR), this growth would be accelerated at supernatural speeds. As for such a spell’s incantation, it’s got to be, ‘Immersum Re!‘ – who’d have thought there’d be a Latin phrase for IR?”
Cathy Hayward, managing director of Magenta Associates, advocates magic as a way to please clients – and deemed it the saviour of those with long commutes.
“If we had access to magical powers, we would use them to ‘Apparate’ [instantaneous teleportation] – to save ourselves lengthy train journeys,” she said. “We’d also up the ante by learning ‘Legilimency’ [mind-reading] so we’d know how a journalist’s article is shaping up to improve our chances of contributing a must-include quote on behalf of clients.
“On that note, an ‘Accio’ summoning charm would be useful in getting speedy copy sign off… but if that failed, we could just threaten them with the ‘Bat-Bogey Hex’ [‘bogies’ are enlarged and given wings]. Finally, we’d shout out ‘Tarantallegra’, a dancing feet spell, to encourage clients to take to the stage during parties we throw for them!”
Another Harry Potter incantation that would have been put to good use is “Colloshoo,” which is linked to the “Stickfast Hex”. This, according to Motin Miah, owner of the Bangkok Lounge Group, would be part of the perfect staff retention strategy.
Workers would find it hard to leave the company, quite literally given that it “adheres the ‘victim’s’ shoes to the ground with some sort of adhesive.” Those curious to implement it will be happy to note it can be found in a spellbook entitled Curses and Counter-Curses, hilariously cited as a great method for duelling.
But of course, what good is being part of the Potterverse if you were only able to get your hands on an Ollivader wand? One or two wizarding businesspeople wanted a taste of that famous beverage described by Rowling as being “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.”
“Who wouldn’t want free Friday-afternoon butterbeer, because why should We Work have all the fun?” Peter Ames, head of strategy at Office Genie said.
The Hogs Head apparently sells them for two sickles – a lovely 60p in the UK. Given its location, in the village of Hogsmeade, a different – and much closer – beverage entered Ames’ thoughts: “A coffee-summoning spell would come in handy – ‘Wingardium Coffeeosa’!”
He added: “We could also eliminate the need for meeting rooms with a quick ‘Muffliato’. You could have the most confidential of conversations, and all anyone else would hear is a light ‘unidentifiable buzzing’. Think of the amount of space you’d save!”
Others have experimented with their own spells – hopefully not to the cited failing degree of Potter’s mother
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