Gamification is the concept of applying game elements to real life contexts like business or education, with the aim of creating behavioral change, enhancing motivation and performance of individuals. Even though there is a rising trend in popularity and an increase in deployment, many attempts however fail their objectives. The field is still missing theoretical foundations, valid research and best practices. It is dominated by misconceptions, poor design of practical approaches and controversial opinions amongst experts. Nevertheless, motivational theories like the self-determination theory or the concept of flow can serve as valuable foundations for understanding how game elements can influence human motivation. Taking them as a theoretical basis and thoughtfully considering their implications for the design of a gamified process can thus lead to higher success of applications.
In this thesis a gamification framework was built based upon the existing body of literature on gamification to more easily describe the processes in how a gamified experience is developed. We interviewed different international gamification companies that are currently working with gamification to test if the theoretically developed framework had practical relevance. The results from the empirical findings indicated that the framework had practical relevance and indeed represents the processes in how the companies work with gamification in real world scenarios. However, some of the companies do not utilize the different parts integrated in the framework the same way as they are described in the thesis.
Patience is a rare commodity these days, as we live in an age of instant gratification. At GamEffective, we've decided not to try and combat this trend, but incorporate it in to the way organizations work, to their benefit. We do this by providing feedback on performance, which has a great impact on employee motivation and performance.
We're big believers in real time gamification and in the possibility of being able to know how well you're doing your job at all times. We have worked long and hard so that our platform will be able to integrate in to any existing platforms or systems that different organization may be working with. Our platform is constantly pulling different relevant information from all the systems that an organization uses, creating a real-time picture of the state of performance. From the get-go, our idea was that showing employees how they are performing in real time would allow them to adjust their performance accordingly, creating a win for all parties involved. We've actually seen some great results with this, but we've also come to find that the situation is not always as simple as it may look from the outside.
When KPI's just need more time
Nowadays, managers face serious tasks, problems and challenges that require a fully engaged workforce. However, it has been found that only thirty percent of employees around the world are engaged in their job. Gamification –defined as the use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts- can increase engagement by fostering employees’ intrinsic motivation. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to identify the key determinants for internal gamification to successfully enhance employee engagement. Following a Ground Theory approach, five semi-structured interviews with gamification experts were analyzed and coded into categories. Five categories of key determinants that contribute to a successful gamification design emerged: clear objectives, user-centred approach, context alignment, evolving design and intrinsic motivation. These key determinants were subsequently assessed by comparing them with the current body of literature on gamification, resulting in a concise and coherent framework of managerial implications. In addition, this approach allowed to identify discrepancies between researchers and entrepreneurs regarding their knowledge on gamification.
Enterprise Gamification is Leadership 101
Mario Herger’s book Enterprise Gamification is certainly an outstanding introduction to gamification. However, it is far more. While I am a novice at game development and gamification, I do consider myself to be knowledgeable and accomplished in the realm of leadership. As I read Enterprise Gamification, I could imagine an entire MBA Leadership and Organizational Behavior course based on this book. I was blown away with how richly Mario filled this book with studies and sources regarding individual and organizational behavior. In terms of truth in advertising, Mario was one of my advisers for my recent thesis in which I designed a serious, multiplayer, computer game to improve Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Response Coordination Center training and exercises. I am now inspired to think more globally and imagine how to gamify FEMA and even the Department of Homeland Security to improve engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness. But, that is another story. I am not writing a book review here. Rather, I would like to share just a few nuggets out of Enterprise Gamification that leadership enthusiasts, like myself, might enjoy. The concept of applying these concepts through gamification quit simply makes the application of the principles more fun.
When I mentor young folks, I tell them that if I only had one piece of advice to give, it would be that you play the cards you are dealt. What this means is you are leading a team of individuals. They are all unique and motivated in different ways. Wait, did I just state the obvious? While we learned how we are unique as children from Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood, we seem to forget it in our leadership styles. In addition to intrinsic individuality, each person’s own motivation changes over time. An old, experienced, introvert may only need and want the task description and then runs off and takes care of it. A young, inexperienced person may need a little more hand holding or timely checks to make sure they are on track. Similarly, Herger refers to empathy-based design when he writes, “…understanding the motivations of players is a crucial part of making gamification successful.” In other words, one must consider what motivates a player to make a good game. This is analogous to a leader needing to understand the motivation of employees/teammates in order to be effective.