Train for Success in Second LifeToday I did my first presentation in Second Life. And what better topic than Gamification? Anders Gronstedt from the Gronstedt Group hosts a weekly Train for Success sessions bring together business and learning professionals globally to share experiences from the frontiers of 3-D immersive virtual worlds, gaming and simulation projects.

I basically reanimated my long dormant Second Life account and it was quite entertaining. Not only has the user interface remarkably improved since my last visit, but it's also fun to do this kind of virtual meetup. Now I know what I am missing with all the webinars I normally attend. And how cute is it to see avatars with parrots on their shoulders, men in flipflops, one bot and even a dog walking into the lecture?


GreenBiz-groupGreenBiz.com, the leading source of news and opinion on business and the environment, had invited me to speak at their Innovation Forum 2011. The event took place this week in San Francisco, amid a heat-wave in the mid of October. As the topic was all around innovation, it was clear that a crazy-sounding topic like Gamification and a speaker with similar qualities would perfectly fit in their program.

After a dinner that I had the pleasure to host and a "guru-table" with a lively discussion, I finally gave on Thursday my 1.5 hour workshop on gamification. What GreenBiz hadn't known, when Ellie Buechner from GreenBiz' organization team called me initially, was that with me they kind of hit the motherlode. Not only of craziness, but I do have a Ph.D. that I got for my thesis on a sustainability topic ("Emission factors for oil-fueled heating systems"), I also run multiple innovation communities, as well as organize innovation events at SAP, AND I am the Global Head of Gamification at business software maker SAP.


Greenbiz Innovation Forum 2011Organizations that understand and embrace the concepts of gamification design can help drive innovation in their companies, says Mario Herger Technology Strategist & Community Manager at SAP Labs.

Herger took attendees at the GreenBiz Innovation Forum through a series of "quests" -- giving Angry Birds dolls as rewards -- to identify real-world problems in their company or organization to be solved.

For organizations involved in sustainability, Herger believes gamification is a natural fit. "Gamification is about intrinsic value and rewards. Sustainability appeals to lifestyle and behavior, and organizations can build and exploit that value."


The most effective gaming apps are designed to accomplish specific objectives, encourage new behaviors and demonstrate to employees (or players) why they should care. The goal is to design games that will inform and engage employees.

"Gamification makes information available in another context," Herger says.

Read the full article on Greenbiz.com.


Angry BirdThe game is on! The SAP Gamification Cup at SAP Labs in Palo Alto started yesterday. CTO Vishal Sikka and SAP Labs Palo Alto managing director Barbara Holzapfel invited 2,000 employees on the campus for an opportunity to unleash their innovative spirit, collaboration, and creativity in the area of user experience and user engagement: The SAP Gamification Cup.

In the next weeks employees will form teams and focus on creating software prototypes that reflect a gamification approach and outcome. How can we make the travel expense system more engaging and fun, how the leave request, how can we nudge people to be more compliant with time reporting, or how can we onboard them slowly on complex software and not frustrate them? Or are there ways to make the UI of manufacturing processes way more gameful with avatars or 3D worlds like FarmVille or SimCity? And what about racking users achievements and better identifying experts and the best users like we do on the SAP Developer Network?


Angry BirdTraining game

Inside SAP I am running a couple of internal communities around topics like iPhone/iPad and Android development, as well as Gamification and Innovation Steampunk. I will start talking more about these development communities (which now account for well over 1,000 members) on the SDN, to give you an insight in the awe-inspiring things we are doing.
The first blog originates from the Gamification group with over 100 members. Spinned off from the mobile communities, when colleagues expressed their concern that we'd screw the bling of apps on mobile devices like the iPad, we started looking at other industries like the videogame industry to understand what approaches , design principles, game mechanics and other things they use to make users engaged and happy with their games. And the big topic is 'gamification'. There are already some interesting pieces and demos available, not least the SDN itself, which uses a gaming element: points and badges.
More about that and the other communities and their awe-inspiring topics will follow in the next couple of weeks.