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7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work

An increasing number and variety of business applications are integrating game mechanics, or gamification, to improve user engagement, engage new customers, incent employees, build loyalty, and more.
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Gamification is the art, and sometimes science, of applying game theory and mechanics in non-game contexts. Businesses have used game mechanics for years--often in training and human resources settings--to provide users with incentives to perform particular (and, quite often, tedious) tasks. Now, with the rise of social networking in the workplace, the game, as they say, is really on.

Gamification has been used in business settings in the past, but users were often playing in a vacuum--or their success at "the game" was only visible to a manager. Think of a human resources application, where a user could earn points for every training document he or she read. The person's score might make a difference in his or her next performance evaluation, but the gaming model did not leverage what really makes people engage in games--the human desire to compete, against others and against themselves.

That's where social networking comes into play (pun intended). Organizations are using social networking platforms externally--for marketing, customer service, and product development--and internally--for workflow management and collaboration. In environments where people are already sharing and linking to each other, gamification is a natural fit. Now, users are competing against each other for points, or badges or to be known as a leader. Status is clearly visible, so even when users are not competing against each other, there is still incentive to achieve.

The gamification model integrated into social business applications often includes badges showing different levels of achievement, progress bars and meters, points and other rewards that can be earned, loyalty awards, and leader boards.

The market for gamification is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Research from Gartner indicates that by 2015, 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes, and that by 2014 more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.

Gartner has identified four principal means of driving engagement using gamification techniques:

1. Accelerated feedback cycles: Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

2. Clear goals and rules of play: Gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve goals.

3. A compelling narrative: Gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity.

4. Tasks that are challenging but achievable: Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to maintain engagement.

In this slideshow we take a look at just some of the applications of game mechanics in a business social networking context.

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Omegacron
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Omegacron,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 9:04:43 PM
re: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work
Thank you for the article - we're presently attempting to incorporate gamification into our strategy as well.

Personally, I'm just waiting for the day when our team meetings take place in Azeroth - now THAT's gamification lol.
James Gray
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James Gray,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/13/2012 | 11:30:15 AM
re: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work
Does anyone know of a software platform for designing something like one of these systems. I'm a school teacher that want's to set up a way of using gameification to track challenges and progress.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2012 | 10:52:32 PM
re: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work
Thank you for your comment. I agree that adding game mechanics for the sake of adding game mechanics could hurt more than it helps.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Mr. Ketter
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Mr. Ketter,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 5:31:01 PM
re: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work
It just show us that sometimes you have to wait patiently for the others to catch up. We incorporated game mechanics 2 years ago in Techshare which is now {s}hareCLOUD. The downside comes from vendors who try to incorporate too many gimmicky gaming ideas instead of just moving social intranets into the future. We decided to add badges, "nods", and forum points. This ,we feel, allows us to incent employees without distracting from core business. We like to think of it as a way to get work done without employees feeling as if they are working.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2012 | 10:35:59 PM
re: 7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work
Thank you for your comment! It's really interesting to see how many ways game mechanics are making their way into social and other business applications.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
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