last Month, I Attended the first Gamification conference in Bangalore (India) and to my surprise, there were more than 350 participants for a conference and around 100 participants for the workshop. Clearly shows the level of interest industry is showing to explore some concepts to make work more interesting and efficient.

Gamification surely looks like the new Buzz work in the technology industry. Is it just another Buzz word or has the potential to make a bug wave in the technology sector, I am not sure.

What is Gamification anyways?

When you play games on computer, you actually do a lot of work, in terms of

  1. Understanding how to play the game, understanding the rules of the game, and get to know what does winning mean in this game.
  2. Learning new skills, like visualizing and fitting the blocks before they fall in Tetris, or any other skill.
  3. Practicing a lot of times before you start winning the game
  4. Effectively hours and hours are spent by individuals in learning, working, and mastering the game techniques and then just enjoying the game.

When people are immersed into the computer games so much, which is not going to pay them their salaries or any other incentive. Why can’t we make them equally immersed and interested in their daily work? Why should work be always Boring and monotonous? Can we learn from these gaming concepts and make the work more engaging and effective?

With this basic thoughts, a couple of Gamification platforms have come up in the market, which allows the enterprises to plug in these engaging Game features, or game elements in the daily work tools.

Most of the platforms necessarily talk about mechanisms like Points, Badges, and Leaderboards (PBL) and so on. Having PBL does not ensure your success on the Gamification front for sure. These are mere tools like Forums and chats. Just having a tick mark on Forums, Chat engines does not make the portal collaborative. For collaboration, you need to understand the purpose, and for a winning Gamification idea, you should know, what motivates the users. If organization or tools have a reason to motivate users, then the Gamified tools could help build engaging features out of that.

Interesting examples of Gamification those were discussed in the conference were –

  1. Nike fuel, / Runkeeper, Fitbit kind of apps on mobile, which encourage and motivate people to exercise, run, walk more by recognizing the achievements, ability to track activities and compare performance with analytic tools, and even share with my friends. I end up commenting on a friend (who is living across the globe) to encourage him to go for a run today, you haven’t exercised for few days looks like fun and with a clear purpose.
  2. Simple examples like Dropbox promotion where a user gets some more cloud space if your friend joins dropbox being depicted as a journey in a rocket to the Moon which can potentially give about 32 MB of space on Dropbox, be referring friends.
  3. On one of the European city roads, had a speed gun with the speed indicator display clearly giving a response and thumbs up or thumbs down based on the speed of the car was a great example. Interestingly the city traffic department decided to add a Speed gun lottery sweepstake which enrolls the people who are following the speed limits directly into a lottery, where the amount of money comes from the fine collected from all the defaulters was a furthermore interesting concept. which has rewards and punishment as well as an exciting surprise element of winning the lottery?

Anyways, enterprises will have to engage sensible designers to ensure they don’t just engage PBL enabled Gamification platform, which no one uses. and make sure the efforts are towards, making work more fun and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the work.

Some context the speakers shared:

Game and Serious Business Applications sound like two opposite poles, Why do we need to Gamify the serious business applications?

1) A few years back, all the businesses were not keen on having a website of their company, but slowly over 4-5 years things changed, and All businesses surely need to have a website. If there is no website,  the business does not exist.. 🙂

2) 5 years back, Most of the businesses had websites, and debated on why does a business require social media? Social media actually kills productivity and all.. But today almost all businesses are on social media, facebook, Linkedin Twitted, Glassdoors and being on every possible social media makes a lot of sense to most of the businesses.

3) Today, when most of the businesses have a presence on the social media, but are reluctant on the concepts of games, with the same old theory of Games and playing games, kills productivity of my employees, Let me keep my business as far away from games as possible.. But as per Gartner, in the next few years, over 70 % of the global businesses will explore and experiment with Gamification… so probably in the next 5 years, most of the businesses would have some Gamification strategy or the other..

very interesting thought by the speakers..

What was also mentioned was, the other Gartner report where 80% of the companies who experimented with Gamification will FAIL  in their Gamification experiments.

Do you think all websites for all businesses has boosted their business 10 X ? or all the companies having facebook websites have suddenly grown their popularity by 10 X? Of course NO; But still there is certain merit in exploring having a website, or having a presence on the social media, or having explored some Gamification in the serious business. businesses would have to leave ‘No stone unturned’  when it comes to their business success.

Anyways, it was a great experience listening to most of the speakers for sure.