Mainspring Insights: Gamification
Gamification: the application of game mechanics to non-game environments to motivate people and change behavior.
For years, the concept of playing a game was typically intended for leisure or entertainment; detached from the professional world. However, a recently growing trend within businesses is the concept of gamification. The predecessor of this idea was contests within the office; i.e. a chart tracking individual performance that would eventually award something to the "winning" individual.
But now, business leaders are beginning to understand that this method can be leveraged to aid in brand engagement/awareness and to promote customer loyalty. Enhancing inter-company "gaming" and the push to externalize games to consumers is driven by our connectivity to technology and our devices, and can become a very powerful tool.
There are many different methods to implement gamification, with varying degrees of complexity, with success depending on company dynamics. On an advanced level, the UK's Department of Work and Pension used game mechanics in a platform called "Idea Street" to aid employees in developing innovations.
"Idea Street" introduced an online social platform in which communities could develop ideas together, but the creation of new infrastructure in which employees could collaborate is what enabled "Idea Street" to be successful.
A rather simple example of one of their creations was a stagnant crowdfunding campaign. They changed the interface on the website to look like a piggy bank and make sounds when donors gave money by interacting with it. The simple aesthetic redesign to foster game-like functionality allowed for the campaign to yield much better results.
Though there are probably various external marketing tactics you could imagine that would be practical for gamification, the bigger challenge is incorporating this trend into your organization. In video games for instance, results and performance indicators are provided to the user immediatly. However, this is not the case in the real world a employee success metrics (KPI's) may not be explicit and feedback from managers may not be clear. The intent of gamification is to turn everyday, real-world activities into more pleasurable experiences by recreating the positive stimuli that occur in games".
To recreate these stimuli, these games attempt to apply priciniples that are innate to games with real world processes. Gamification accelerates feedback cycles by decreasing the amount of time that it takes for a worker to receive feedback for their performance. This makes them more accountable for their progress throughout the individual parts of an overall task, rather than only being focused on end results. This is why Mainspring suggests implementing this ideology into teams working on projects in your enterprise.
Gamificatin provides clear rules and a compelling narrative. It also seeks to recognize status, affirm achievements, and create social recognition, which can create good pressure for employees to work at their greatest potential towards social reward. Lastly, gamification works by providing tasks that are difficult but achievable by maintaining employee engagement by validating the work they are doing along the way.
Many of these characteristics from games that are appearing in businesses are only possible because of advances in technology that allow for greater communication and recognition throughout the entire process of a project or goal, rather than only at the end.