The term Gamification has been around since about 2010, and is mostly used to explain the recent trend in awarding points for just about everything from checking into your local coffee house to going to the gym or even doing boring CRM data entry. Wikipedia have a pretty good definition here, but I like Gabe Zickerman’s take…
Gamification is the use of game design techniques and game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences
Another cool definition uses the concept of competition between two or more independent decision makers. These are the core principles:
- Game design: people are hard wired for story telling. Great games tell great stories so that people care
- Game mechanics: badges, achievements, points, status and other tools which can be used to turn everyday activities into game activities
- Solving problems: games are designed around challenges which must be overcome, whether this is a quest to rescue the princess or the challenge of gaining platinum status in your frequent flyer program
- Engaging audiences: people will only want to play your game if it is engaging, this means it needs to be fun and it needs to have a point that they care about
Why use Gamification?
Is there more to gamification than awarding badges for turning u at work, or points for brushing your teeth? Critics of gamification might say that it is just a lot of hype to make existing marketing activities (like loyalty programs) sound cool, or that it is simply another shallow attempt to monetise social media. They might have a point. There really is no substitute for designing products and services that work, and that fulfil a genuine need. Adding a game layer won’t make a bad product any better. But I think that misses the point. Done right, gamification can add a new dimension to a range of activities…
Gamification in Practice
Here are some example that go beyond the hype of marketing:
– Zurmo have gamified their open source CRM tool, adding a layer of competitive rivalry to the sales force (e.g. status awards for number of sales leads converted)
– RedCritterTracker have gamified project management, enabling project managers to award points and rewards to staff as they complete project tasks
– Fitocracy have gamified personal fitness, with points and status for completing training challenges
But what else can be done? Over the next few days I’ll take a closer look at gamification in practice and try to offer some insight of my own into how we might gamify the workplace in fun and interesting ways.