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Gender DiscriminationWomen are earning 0.77 for every dollar that their male counterparts do for the same job in the US. This is the data that the United States Census Bureau gathered in 2009. This gender discrimination in pay for the same work cannot be explained away with differences in experience, skill, occupation, education, or hours worked. Lawmakers and advocate groups have long struggled to close the gap, most recently with the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act from 2009.

With gamification entering the workplace, introducing game mechanics game design into the applications, processes, and work-related activities, there is a likely danger that the gender bias will be increased. While games are played by both men and women, there is a stark difference in what types of games and gamification approaches men and women prefer. Studies have shown that while men prefer games that emphasize competition, mastery, destruction, violence, trial and error, and spatial puzzles (amongst others), women prefer emotion, nurturing, real world connection, learning by example, and dialog and verbal puzzles. In general women represent 42% of all video-gamers, while for mobile and social games women are the majority in the range of 60-70%.

Considering that currently the majority of gamification practitioners are men and that the first examples that were highlighted in the enterprise gamification space tended to be competitive, the question comes what will happen, when – as envisioned – a large number of workplace applications, processes and activities will be gamified? Will there be a bias towards competitive gamification approaches?

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Publication of summarized research findings

 Michael Benzing, Masterstudent an der International School of Management in Dortmund, veröffentlichte seine Diplomarbeit mit dem Titel "Bedeutung von Gamification für eine nachhaltige Konsumentenverhaltensänderung." Gamifizierung steht für die Anwendung von Spielelementen und die Denkweise der Spielentwicklung in spielfremden Bereichen, um bestimmte Verhaltensweisen zu fördern. Während manche Marketing-Experten überzeugt sind, sämtliche Kundeninteraktionen engagierend und motivierend gestalten zu können, warnen Kritiker vor überhöhten Hoffnungen.

Diese Arbeit setzt sich kritisch mit den Potentialen von Gamification auseinander und analysiert Anknüpfungspunkte etablierter Verhaltens- und Motivationstheorien. Die zentrale Frage, unter welchen Bedingungen Gamification eine langfristige Änderung des Konsumentenverhaltens unterstützen kann, wurde anhand qualitativer Experteninterviews untersucht. Die Befragten unterstützen die These der Relevanz intrinsischer Motivationsmechanismen, um nachhaltige Verhaltensmotivation zu ermöglichen. Die Selbstbestimmungstheorie der Motivation wird als gute Grundlage gesehen, um intrinsische Motivation zu fördern und externe Ziele zu internalisieren. Weitere Potentiale zur Verhaltensförderung durch Gamification liegen in der richtigen Balance zwischen der Handlungsmotivation und –fähigkeit sowie dem situationsgerechten Platzieren des Auslösers, der die Handlung anstößt.

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LeaderboardWhen Toby Beresford from Pailz started a gamification guru leaderboard - which of course can only happen in the gamification space – he wouldn't predict what he's going to create more than just a simple leaderboard. But trying to rank them according to their Twitter-tweets and other public criteria turned out to be quite some work. And that's where he had his epiphany: he created a toolkit that allows him to manage his gamification guru leaderboard, as well as define new leaderboards for any topic. And the best is: Toby made the toolkit available to the public.

He created Leaderboarded.com, where workshop or conference organizers, or anyone who wants to rank topic experts can create rankings. By creating datasources for Twitter, Klout, Google+ and others, and by specifying hashtags, user names, scores etc. you can feed your leaderboard with the right activity to build up your ranking. A new leaderboard then must only be connected to datasources, the sources weighted and the frequency of new calculations be scheduled.

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PickManGamification has been a hot trend in the hotbed of innovation, the Silicon Valley. That's why it does not come as a surprise that innovative locations on the other side of the globe are not lacking in their own take on that concept. SAP Labs Israel in Ra'anana – right outside of Tel Aviv - two weeks ago hosted an Innojam around Gamification. For 24 hours 7 teams worked on their take on gamifying business applications. Two full-day workshops on gamification prepared and pumped up the 30+ participants who had to show their six-minute demos on Thursday afternoon to their SAP Labs colleagues and the critical jury. And gamification platform provider Beintoo, one of the hottest European startups right now, came all the way from Milano in Italy, to help pimping the apps with game mechanics.

And while I thought Angry Birds plush toys and pig-noises may excite the crowd and set the mood, Man! Was I wrong! In a country with a population and a religion where pigs are seen as non-kosher, they wouldn't even make pig-sounds. Not that I asked them to eat the green plush toy pigs. But luckily, they are Israelis. As one Israeli friend told me: "If there are rules, Israelis would immediately try to circumvent them."

After quickly considering how they can overcome the rules around pigs, they all told me "I take one, but not for me, it's for the kids!" There you go. 70 pigs and angry birds later the audience was grunting and oinking. For the kids, of course!

Enough of that, let's slingshot at the demos.

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