The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Parallels between analytics and gamification and IT involvement

chicken pig.pngAs I was reading the HBR article on Why IT Fumbles Analytics, it was clear that the same rules they mentioned applied to IT efforts as well, inlcuding gamification, so it is worth a read. The article states that the focus of analytic projects needs to be on:


  1. Place People at the Heart of the Initiative – For a gamification project the focus will be on people (the players, the leadership and stakeholders) and their behavior, the incentive for performance change and how that is measured. If the information isn’t monitored and used, the effort will fail. Make sure there is a business leader who has expectations of the results.
  2. Emphasize Information Use as a Way to Unlock Value from IT – This is directly true for gamification as well. Not just the raw information, but the meta-data about who is doing what with whom and what are the trends.
  3. Equip Project Teams with Cognitive and Behavior Scientists – Gamification efforts also need cognitive and behavior scientists. I assume this also include game designers as well, since the effort needs to be constructed to encourage on-going participation by all the affected parties.
  4. Focus on Learning – Since gamification is an iterative effort, change needs to be embraced. As we learn more about the players and the process, almost every element of the effort is subject to change. Enabling the players as well as the leadership to reach higher performance levels is an inherent part of gamification -- this involves learning.
  5. Worry More about Solving Business Problems than About Deploying Technology – If people are the heart then the goals need to be the foundation that the initiative stands upon. If we don’t advance towards the goals it is all just an interesting diversion.

To paraphrase the author of the article:

Improving how businesses extract value using gamification requires more than just points, badges and analytical tools. It involves creating an environment where people can use the company's data and their own behavior and knowledge to improve the firm’s ability to address its goals. In this new paradigm, the manager’s priority is to make discoveries that benefit the organization and identify unknowns that could put it at risk and take action, moving to resolution.


Since I grew up on a farm, so I sometimes use this metaphor: When you’re making breakfast, the chicken is involved and the pig is committed. In this case, the IT organization is more like the chicken and the business needs to be the pig. 

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