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5/4/2012
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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.




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.


Kudos Badges are being leveraged by applications such as IBM Connections, shown here. The Kudos Badges Leaderboard enables users to view the top contributors throughout Connections. Users rise in rank through activities such as posting a status update, creating a blog, sharing a file, or having someone recommend your file. Within Connections, users can view the top 10 Kudos Leaderboard across the platform or within individual features, such as Profiles, Activities, or Blogs.

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IBM is also integrating Bunchball's Nitro into IBM Connections. Through the gamification features available with Nitro, new IBM Connections users are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the platform by completing a few straightforward tasks, or missions. More than 20 missions later, this user has "leveled up" and become a much more engaged and knowledgeable IBM Connections community member.

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Xerox is using game mechanics in a variety of ways, including management training. For example, within the Stepping Up application, the user must apply learned skills in on-the-job activities called Quests. Quests often can be conducted with other gamers, driving social interaction. Through integration with Yammer, users' progress is noted on the Yammer site, adding another level of social interaction.

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Samsung Nation, powered by Badgeville, is a loyalty program offered on Samsung.com. The program includes gamification features such as leaderboards. Missions, a gaming feature useful in business environments, are used in Samsung Nation to guide users through multiple activities to complete specific collections.

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Gamification Boosts Employee Health Behavior, Blue Shield Argues

Casino Company Gambles On Gamification

Jive Builds A Better Intranet, Bolsters Gamification

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

Bunchball Throws Personalization Into Gamification

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Within apps that have integrated with SessionM's platform, users can unlock achievements tied to activities and engagement milestones. These include visiting regularly, exploring content, and generally being social. Users also can also unlock achievements by choosing to engage with immersive video and rich media ads. Users collect points for achievements, and the points can be redeemed in a mobile storefront for real-world rewards such as gift cards and exclusive deals, or they can be donated to charity.

RECOMMENDED READING:

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Jive Builds A Better Intranet, Bolsters Gamification

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

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ePrize's Social Loyalty Platform on Facebook enables brands to reward users for things they're already doing, creating ongoing engagement and longer-term loyalty. The example shown is for Scotts Lawn Care.

RECOMMENDED READING:

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Gaming For The Greater Good

Gamification Boosts Employee Health Behavior, Blue Shield Argues

Casino Company Gambles On Gamification

Jive Builds A Better Intranet, Bolsters Gamification

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

Bunchball Throws Personalization Into Gamification

SXSW-What Gaming Should Teach IT Leaders


Gigya provides websites with end-to-end social infrastructure. On the front end, Gigya's Social Plugins and Social Gamification products create a "Facebook-like" social experience to drive engagement. On the back end, Gigya's Social Identity Management Platform allows businesses to access and manage social identity data. Pepsi Soundoff is a community site for viewers of Pepsi-sponsored TV shows that provides users with a co-viewing experience while shows are airing on TV. By leveraging Gigya's Social Gamification Platform, users can accrue points and "caps" (badges) as they earn rankings such as Rookie and Veteran.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Is Gamification A Great Motivator?

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Gaming For The Greater Good

Gamification Boosts Employee Health Behavior, Blue Shield Argues

Casino Company Gambles On Gamification

Jive Builds A Better Intranet, Bolsters Gamification

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

Bunchball Throws Personalization Into Gamification

SXSW-What Gaming Should Teach IT Leaders

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