Do you know that in 1795, French despot Napoleon Bonaparte offered 12,000 francs as a reward for a grand challenge to preserve food?
Or that Nike’s gamified platform Nike+ helped it to capture nearly 50% of the running shoe market?
Defining gamification as “implementing design concepts from games, loyalty programmes, and behavioural economics to drive user engagement”, the authors claim that US companies alone will spend US$3 billion per year on gamification technologies and services by the end of the decade.
At its core, the basic elements of games – also known as game mechanics – comprise points, badges (achievements), levels, leaderboards, and rewards. Combined, they deliver a system of mastery (also known as agency) to users using concepts that are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivating.
While it is easy to visualise how MMOGs like World of Warcraft, Skyrim, or Candy Crush Saga incorporate the above elements, the greater and more significant challenge lies in how we can gamify business to sharpen our corporate strategies, engage employees, and delight customers.
According to the authors, companies that succeed in gamification exhibit the following patterns:
In strategic planning, game theory – described as “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between rational decision makers” – can be used as a powerful tool to develop corporate strategy frameworks.
Combined with game design, opportunities arise for organisations to achieve the following:
By extrapolating possible future outcomes based on a finite timeframe, companies can better understand what their final goals are. An example is the alternate reality game World Without Oil developed in 2007 which weaves in various possibilities and futures to a strategic gaming session.
Using the simulation game as a crystal ball, various future scenarios and outcomes could be predicted and forecasted. In the Battle for Designer Foods, leading health food giants Abbot, Danone, GlaxoSmithKline and Nestle were stress tested to appeal to an emerging US$20 billion consumer market.
Through processes like “gamestorming” (see my book review here), greater engagement can be developed with members of the planning and strategy teams in any organisation.
Finally, techniques in gamification can help to raise overall intelligence in an organisation, by considering various possibilities in a more engaged and realistic fashion.
In this next section, gamification is used for four important aspects of human resource management:
Using the three Fs – Feedback, Friends, and Fun – organisations can use opt-in approaches to reduce monotony and increase joy.
In the example of Target, the deployment of the Target Checkout Game where green Gs (right speed) and red Rs (too slow) as well as percentage scores were displayed at checkout screens resulted in work being made to “feel like a game”.
Most of us working in the public sector would be familiar with innovation games.
Here, the authors suggest that three key approaches can be adopted:
Cosmetics giant L’Oreal is a shining example here. Their competitive recruitment game Reveal involves presenting graduate students with realistic scenarios in their work environment.
Learning can also be gamified using training games and simulations.
NextJump’s team leaderboard (courtesy of Huffington Post)
Finally, gamification can be used to cut through consumer clutter, deepen engagement and loyalty, and tap customer insights.
Let me go through each in turn.
Using Foursquare as an example, companies can make use of six strategies to acquire customers:
Here, the authors propose using an engagement or viral loop with 4 elements:
Beyond these, organisations should keep their content fresh, use meaningful incentives, design the games to allow personal mastery, create continuous learning opportunities and monetize loyalty.
Last but certainly not least, companies can consider leveraging on the game mechanics of crowdsourcing to reduce costs, improve quality, strengthen innovation, and drive new product development.
Overall, The Gamification Revolution is a good introduction to the myriad possibilities of game mechanics. While it isn’t as prescriptive as some of the other books I’ve read on innovation and creativity, it does expand one’s vistas on the possible applications of gaming in business.
Of all the sections and topics covered, I found the sections on employee management the most insightful. In an age beset by rampant employee dissatisfaction and sky high turnover, companies may wish to take a leaf from organisations like Google, Apple, Facebook and many others featured in the book. By using gamification strategies, these sterling organisations have become choice employers able to attract, motivate and retain the brightest talents in the market.
Tags: creativity, crowdsourcing, employees, gabe zichermann, game mechanics, gamifying, gaming, incentives, innovation, leaderboards, rewards, social media marketing, strategy, The Gamification Revolution
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