There has been a lot of talk about gamifying the workplace to boost engagement and use fun for motivation. Some have even talked about making project management fun! Tools like RedCritter Tracker seem to be making a great start with solid gaming platforms to provide an easy to use system of badges, rewards, points and leaderboards so you can easily gamify your own project management.
The question I have is this. Okay so we have some great gamification tools, but do we know how to use them?
Gamification is based in large part on the concept that if you make an activity fun, people will want to do it. But is that enough, and can it be sustained? Just because I like going bowling doesn’t mean I want to go bowling all day every day until I am 65. I don’t care how far up the leaderboard I get. The message here
Build motivation into the job, not just how you interact with it
Points, Prizes and Recognition
There is a lot to be said about peer and professional recognition. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs talks about respect, achievement and self esteem. All powerful motivators for helping us feel that our efforts are worthwhile. When defining your own awards system, why not include links to professional achievements and qualifications, customer feedback, and peer recognition?
Gabe Zichermann starts of this great talk by reinforcing that gamification is not just about redeemable points, it must focus on experience points (recognition for a job well done). The message here
Don’t just issue arbitrary awards, badges and points. Think about what you about what you are doing
Transparency and Social Commentary
This is my favourite aspect of gamification for things like project management. The ability to see what others are doing and achieving, and to interact with that by leaving comments, liking or making connections e.g. “that’s great work, I’ve been doing something similar, let’s collaborate on this”.
This last part in particular seems to me to be a real opportunity for gamification to do more than just award points for what we already do. Gamification has the opportunity to act as a platform for redesigning what we do as well. It’s time to redesign work. Read more on work redesign according to Harvard, or far more interestingly by 37 signals