Gamification is everywhere
It’s one of the hottest topics around and has been for some time. Gamified solutions are available to buy from a wide variety of firms, all promising improved employee engagement and improved results. These are big promises and, as yet, no-one is really delivering on them. There are still a lot of badges and leaderboards out there. These are to gamification what scanning PDFs is to digitization. what should it really be like?
Badges and leaderboards are to gamification what scanning PDFs is to digitization.
1. Think people not technology
If people do not buy into the game, it will never work, however smoothly and well-designed the technical solution is.
Most importantly, the group of people you need to convince the most are the ones who think gamification is a terrible idea, not those who think it’s a great one. If it’s going to work, everyone needs to participate. Design your solution (and the technology) for them.
Remember also that you can easily gamify without technology at all. Gamifying tasks and activities is nothing new. In fact, it might turn out that technology is not even appropriate for your solution. The technology’s role is simple: facilitate the smooth running of your solution. It is not the solution itself.
Technology should facilitate the smooth running of your gamified solution. It is not the solution itself.
2. Go big or go home
This is about commitment to gamification. What I mean is: make the gamified solution revolutionary. For example, gamify a whole process, not just tack some “gamification” onto an existing one. Be prepared to tear down old ways of working and replace them completely. This will require commitment not just from management, but from the “players” themselves, who will need to commit to significant change.
If that culture doesn’t exist already, you need to get building before you try to implement the solution or you’re bound to fail.
Gamification can help you tear down old ways of working and replace them completely.
3. Gamification ≠ playing games
There has to be a purpose to the solution that is greater than it just being fun, otherwise it just becomes a novel diversion. In that case, people will use it as a break from their work and not as their work, which is what it should be. As said earlier, the gamified solution should replace (and improve) something, not add to it.
To be clear here, I’m not trying to downplay the importance of enjoying time at work, it’s just that it should be possible to get both enjoyment and real improvement in results.
Gamification has to be more than fun, otherwise it just becomes a novel diversion.
4. Gamified solutions are work, not instead of work
If gamification isn’t just about fun, what is it about then? It’s about taking real work and injecting it with “play” (meaning fun, discovery, competition and so on) so that the work is done better than before.
What you do depends on what you want to achieve, and the people involved. Simply paying lip service to gamification by adding some badges and leaderboards randomly to things not only feels pointless to the “players”, it is pointless.
Gamification is about taking real work and injecting it with “play”.
5. In game rewards => rewards in real life
Badges, leaderboards and the such are all very well, but aren’t for everyone. If your gamified solution is real work then it should have real rewards, so tie it in to your existing reward system.
If your gamified solution is real work then it should have real rewards.
So, that's it. Let me know your thoughts. It would be great to get a discussion going about this.