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What is Gamification?

Posted by in Industry News

Ever since we were kids, we’ve loved games. Board games, sports games, online games and sometimes even mind games. But what about where we spend most of our time? What about games for the workplace?

Every single one of us knows somebody – or is somebody – who lacks motivation at work. Who struggles to get up in the morning. Who works hours they despise. Who doesn’t go the extra mile in the name of progress and success. Gamification is the incorporation  of game mechanics into a community, service or website to encourage involvement and engagement in a non-game-related  context.

Gamification works by making your daily work life more interesting (and competitive). Imagine walking in to your office and seeing it as a virtual Super Mario World. Everything you do and accomplish wins you points. With every problem you solve you can level up.  Suddenly, innane and monotonous tasks allow you to win prizes, get recognition from you peers, and compete on a friendly level with the people you spend your days with. How much more motivated would you be? How much more interesting would your days be? How much more engaged would you be?

The statistics show that gamification is no longer simply an idea, but a proven theory:

  • In 2010, corporations spent $100 million of gamification
  • By 2014, gamified services for consumer goods and marketing will become as important as Facebook, ebay or Amazon
  • By 2015, more than 50% of organisations that manage innovations processes will gamify those processes
  • By 2016, corporations are expected to spend $2.8 billion on gamification strategies

And why wouldn’t they? The graph below shows how many of the basic human desires are met through games.

Do me a favour. Stop reading and try to count exactly how many moments of your daily life involve some kind of game. Can’t think of any? Here’s a quick refresher:

  • Frequent flyer miles for travelling
  • Fly buys for groceries
  • Rewards points for petrol
  • Receiving money for filling out surveys online
  • Prizes for calling in and answering questions on the radio
  • Enter Facebook competitions to win electronics, holidays, cars and gift vouchers

The list could go on, and undoubtedly you thought of a few that I haven’t mentioned here.

The most important part of the whole concept is to apply the right incentives. If you know what motivates your office or your consumers, then you can dangle the right carrot to get their participation. You’ll need to help set goals, achievements, stages of growth and prizes. That’s what will have members jumping over hurdles to achieve results! You could also, if needed, make it more professionally-minded by changing the structure of the game and the incentives – as long as it keeps the same motivational impact. The goals should be attainable, relevant and provide the spur to succeed.

Many major companies are already using this internally to motivate their employees. IBM, Deloitte and Microsoft all have gamification elements in the workplace. There are even companies dedicated to helping you bring the whole concept together, such as Quudo – who will have their own gamified console that companies can use and adapt for their business! That’ll take some of the hassle away…

Some of the best known examples of gamification are from well-established brands. McDonalds took the introduction of game mechanics with consumers to a new level in the US with their McDonalds Monopoly promotion. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s “Battle of the Burbs” – a competition to see which suburb could donate the most blood – got people into the competitive mind frame for a great cause. But my personal favourite example was implemented by the Swedish Government. They managed to reduce speeding through rewarding drivers who stayed within the speed limit:

Suffice to say that gamification isn’t a new idea. But its introduction into the workplace is shifting the mentally of the office being a dreary, sad place where motivation saps away with every minute between coffee breaks. We all love games, and if it helps productivity and provides motivation, then we may as well play them in the office. Who’s with me?

About

While some might say that Michael is addicted to the online world, he prefers the term “healthy enthusiasm”. During the winter months, he spends his hibernation researching the latest trends in digital marketing and figuring out ways to make more money than Google. No luck yet. But Michael nevertheless firmly believes that the world is his oyster, and he intends on eating it.

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