Gamification: Making Business Fun 101

It is very likely that you have heard the term gamification being thrown around a lot lately.  But what does it mean and how can you use this trend in technology to benefit your business?

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a fairly new term for a very familiar concept, namely, if you make a boring task fun, people will enjoy it more and be more likely to complete it.   It is the application of game theory and game design in a non-gaming context.  In other words, it is that spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins sings about.

Notable Applications

Businesses are using gamification in a number of contexts to boost the effect of their marketing campaigns, enhance customer engagement, improve employee productivity, and more.  Here are some of the more notable uses of gamification.

Four Square- Four Square is perhaps the most famous user of gamification.  They award users badges for going to specific places, and make people who go to places often the locations mayor.  These accomplishments are shareable introducing a social element that promotes competition.  It works a little like this.  As a user I check in at my location and I get a badge, and my response is, “That’s cool, I will have to remember to check in at my new location too.”  As I collect badges, I share them through my social media outlets.  Other Four Square users taunt my lack of badges, spurring me to earn more, and non-Four Square users feel left out so they get a four square account and start using it to join in the fun and games.  Now not only am I frequent and engaged user of the app, but I have inspired others to join and become avid and engaged users.

Rebuild Rockaway- Gamification is a flexible term that includes a lot of different ways to turn something ordinary into a game.  One application that is particularly intriguing was in the realm of fundraising.  After super storm Sandy, much of the East Coast needed rebuilding.  In an effort to raise funds and keep the needs of the community forefront, a group of designers and philanthropist built a game called Rebuild Rockaway based on the concept of Farmville.  In this game players buy bricks as part of a virtual mission to rebuild the hurricane devastated Rockaways.  The purchase price of the bricks was donated to the relief effort.  This method of fundraising was effective because it tied success in a fun and mildly addictive game to financial contributions.

Gaming for Health- One of the most notable instances of gamification improving services comes out of the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C.   At this hospital, doctors use kinesthetic based video gaming systems like the Wii and the Kinect to perform tests on children suffering from pain in a fun and non-obtrusive way.  As the kids play with controls, they demonstrate things like range of motion that the doctors can measure and adjust treatments as necessary. In addition, when the children are focused on playing and fun they often experience less pain contributing to their recovery.

 

How to Gamify Your Business

The benefits to gamification are legion, so how do you add gamified elements to your business to enhance your outcomes?

  1. Identify an Element to Gamify- Gamification works best if you identify specific elements that would benefit from a fun and competitive element.  For instance, if you want to improve productivity in you invoice processing unit, you might implement a rewards system for speed or accuracy.  Experts recommend focusing on smaller goals, for which you can give smaller and more frequent rewards.
  2. Create a Framework- While not all gamification is net based or happens in the context of an application, much of it does.  In order to successfully gamify a process you have to have sufficient infrastructure to track achievements and issue rewards.  If you choose to gamify using an application or an online interface, you will likely need to hire a developer.  Your developer should be experienced in application programming, and focus on a scalable solution so that if your application goes viral, the system will be able to handle the influx of users.
  3. Advertise- If no one knows about the game, no one can play.  So, promote your new gamified element.  Also, be sure to include social sharing features in your gamified application.  People sharing their experiences lend to the competitive atmosphere required to make the game element a success.

 

If you are interested in creating a game application for your business, Nourtek Solutions seasoned information architects have the skills needed to create solid, scalable programs for business.  In addition, our project managers can help you shape your project into something manageable.  For more information about how you can start gamifying your business contact us today!

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