I haven’t written a Gamification post in a while so I thought I’d post one about my current perspective. Gamification is a broad topic being incorporated into many different business areas. The reason I find Gamification so exciting is because it exists at the intersection of analytics, automation and behavior modification – it’s a powerful enabler of goal-oriented change.
The definition of Gamification: is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance a non-game context to change people’s behavior.
For some, Gamification is thought of as the use of points, badges and leaderboards to motivate employees, but it is much more than that. If Gamification is an engine to enable change, analytics is the fuel that makes that change possible. Gamification depends on analytics to understand the modification taking place, its effect on the business and where further refinement is needed. Nearly all Gamification efforts are iterative in nature.
With the changes in user interfaces and ubiquitous mobile devices, the application of Gamification techniques embraces an ever expanding range of business situations, allowing for new types of interactions and value generation. The traditional separation between the game and the real world is becoming less distinct and this blurring can be used to increase the information flow about potential options and outcomes. The goal though, should always be to do more than succeed in “the game”, and focus on enabling effective change.
Some may ask “why now?” What is driving teams to look at Gamification to enable change? Here are a few thoughts:
- The days of the standalone enterprise (with dedicated employees) are drawing to a close and anything that can hide organizational complexities is helpful.
- Change needs to take place more quickly than ever before, since the live span of products (let alone companies) is continuing to decrease.
- The laws are changing and expectations of governance & compliance are also increasing -- any approach that improves processes performance and consistency is being embraced.
- Efforts like the environmental and the health movement are prime examples of where Gamification techniques have been applied effectively.
- And finally even though Gamification has been used in business probably since the first salesman was hired, it is viewed as innovative (and an enabler of innovation).
At the same time, as there are all these business pressures for adoption, there are also technical advances that allow for more effective and transparent Gamification.
There are possibilities for some significant research and improvement. Most organizations may have (at best) an ad-hoc approach to Gamification. Greater rigor is possible to assist in the consistent and efficient use going forward. Any approach should start out on the foundation of the organizational goals -- since that is what the whole effort is trying to address. On top of that are the “players” whose behavior you are trying to measure and shift. Then there are 4 dimensions of capabilities that are brought to bear on any scenario.
- The first is measurement: Once you know the objective, you can define metrics and expectations about what will be changed.
- There are the behaviors: human nature has a fairly well defined set of attributes to use to make people change their behavior.
- Next are the rewards, these are the levers that can be used to influence the behavior
- Finally there are the mechanics: the tools and techniques that people are known to respond to.
In the long run, it should be possible to define certain combinations of these capabilities that work better than others, creating libraries of leveragable approaches. These will enable service and product organizations to be more successful, more often, when implementing these techniques.
Mobile devices and sensors are almost everywhere, expanding across the entire world, including the developing countries – allowing for global, real-time interaction on processes and performance. The hunger for detailed performance information that fuels Gamification can now be met by today’s analytic techniques and the computational platforms available and finally there are social and workflow advances integrating change at a personal level.
For those wanting to learn more about Gamification here are a few references:
- White paper - Gamification 101
- Video - Fun is the future
- Analyst perspective - Gartner Predicts Over 70% penetration of Gamification by 2014
- Short, thought provoking film that stretches the ethical limits of Gamification called: Sight