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In times where successful companies highly depend on attracting and binding young talents to survive the hard competition of being always on top ranking of innovative companies, it becomes more and more important to find useful and attractive ways to motivate workforce to educate on a regular basis. Gamification is one of the key methods to educate people using different intrinsic engagement elements. SAP has built an own Innovative Gamification Platform (IGP) with G-learning telling a story around SAP and its various global and diverse subsidiaries. Focusing on gamification elements, team-work, live progression and mixing online and live exercises, G-learning has become a frontrunner of attractive learning and networking methods at SAP.
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Remember when game designer Jane McGonigal mentioned in her talks that she is aiming to have a game designer win a Nobel Award? Well, we are closer to that. This year's Nobel Award for Economics went to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their work on contract theory. What may sound pretty dull at first glance, is actually a pretty interesting piece on human behaviors and how it can be used to make better contracts.
Their work did not only explain how contracts are negotiated, but how the contracts become better. Contracts are an important piece in our modern life. Without them we would fall into a messy chaos. Hart and Holmström described how an ideal contract would look like and created a theoretical framework for that. But theory is one thing, real life another one. Especially when we have to consider human behavior in contracts and contract negotation.
And here it becomes interesting, because the laureates elaborated in their work on specific incentives that influence human behavior to make the contract outcome better for both sides. The Nobel Committee explicitely referred to car insurance contracts and deductibles, as well as work contracts with salaries and bonus payments.
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.