Over the last 18 months Scott Sinclair has championed the idea that the real business benefit of gamification is about driving culture and behaviour change within an organisation. For me, the idea that businesses are using gamification to ‘incentivise’ customers to do their marketing, sales or customer service for a couple of badges and points is just the tip of the iceberg.
As a mechanic, gamification works because it draws on natural human behaviours of competition, altruism, personalisation and status. However, gamification has been greatly mis-understood by many marketers and HR directors, and has now fallen into the ‘gimmick’ category. The belief that gamification is about creating the next angry birds or Farmville for your customers to play and increase engagement, or changing the boring CBT into a flash based game so your employees are encouraged to ‘self learn’ is ridiculous – all they have done is create a game! Many of which in my experience are boring, because creating games is very hard!
The definition of gamification says ‘it’s the application of game mechanics in a ‘NON-GAME’ environment’ – exactly the opposite of creating a game.
There are many blogs that can explain what these ‘game mechanics’ are and how to apply them – in fact, check out my previous blog for just that, or check out bunchball and badgeville for great companies doing exciting things in this space.
In my opinion, enterprise gamification is very easy, and a recent presentation from Gabe Zichermann at the GsummitX London summed it up perfectly for me. Enterprise gamification is about doing 3 things really well:
Meaningful tasks – Employees complete tasks every day, and are often bored out of their mind with these business tasks. By building tasks into ‘missions’ that are greater than the task themselves, employees can start to buy-in to the bigger picture.
Rewarding completion – Through a simple reward employees feel valued and start to see that their activities in each task. Remember, rewards do not need to be cash (this comes off the bottom line) – think about the natural human behaviours outlined above.
Aahh – this is the release of ‘dopamine’ from the brain – which creates the same sensation people get from playing computer games. The human crave for this ‘release’ is what drives addictive behaviour.
Gamification has been a buzz word for the last couple of months now in the marketing world, but for me, it won’t be long before it’s the CEO’s best friend for driving culture change within – and not about cutting marketing and customer service budgets.
Have you implemented gamification internally? Has it been effective? Have you tried it with your customers? Keen to hear your thoughts in the comments below