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Design Thinking and Gamification have recently seen a lot of buzz. And rightly so. After business software behemoth SAP also India's IT-giant Infosys is embracing Design Thinking (read more here). But did you know that we at Enterprise Gamification apply Design Thinking for Gamification and modify the approach for much better engagement? Our Gamification Design Thinking is merging the best of both worlds to deliver better business results, more engaged employees and customers, and better products.
But let’s start from the beginning:
Design Thinking was developed by Palo Alto-based innovation and design consultancy IDEO ans applies a human-centers. Empathy-based approach to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success to create outstanding products and services. In a Design Thinking process the team tries first to understand the problem and goals, and then goes out to observe people interacting with the current product or service. The idea is to see the users in their natural habitat, understand what they try to achieve, observe the specific situation, and get a deeper understand of the struggles. By reflecting on what has been observed, and what the goals are, the designers then ideate and prototype and test in quick succession. This whole process is iterative and quick to approach the problem and solution step-by-step. In the focus are always the people and their goals.
Can you learn something about social and knowledge collaboration from a venture capitalist? As a longtime enterprise gamification person I was doubtful at first. But now, with the Karma app my answer is a resounding “Yes!”.
This July, Aleph VC announced a mobile app called Karma. I wrote about the app’s focus on creating a pay it forward culture and its attempt at gamifying good deeds - here. At the time the app was not available; the app was released on September 7th. This is a review of the knowledge collaboration and social sharing aspects of the app, all of which may come handy as great best practice examples for anyone interested in using gamification to encourage knowledge and social collaboration.
First of all, for those that did not read our previous posts, Karma was created by Aleph, a venture capital fund. Venture Capitalists are interested in knowledge collaboration – entrepreneurs and startups need an environment they can thrive in – and that environment has to be willing to share lessons learned. Otherwise, entrepreneurs risk learning stuff the hard way – although some of the knowledge may have already informally existed in the community. When you learn stuff the hard way, some of the money invested by the venture capitalist is lost… see the reasons behind the necessity of promoting knowledge sharing?
Anyone in the VC space can tell you that much of the advice, know-how and information sharing is done for “karma” – a good deed with no tangible benefit attached. People help each other within the venture community for many reasons – some believe in “pay it forward” – helping others as you were once helped. Some use advice to maintain a reputation, and some do it for its own sake. Yet gamifying “karma” – just like using gamification for enterprise knowledge collaboration – can drive more adoption and result in more knowledge sharing. It is of great interest when people don’t know each other – and this is where gamification can work, by providing recognition and other forms of gamification satisfaction.
While the elements that make up gamification (gaming elements, a sense of playfulness, and a focus on motivating behaviors) are nothing new, the combination is powerful. Gamification can help motivate employees to take action in a way that’s inherently interesting to them, resulting in more creative responses and greater discretionary effort. By using game design elements to accomplish day-to-day work, your company can create a sense of playfulness around routine and creative processes that can improve your overall operations. That’s why you should consider gamification as a way to stay ahead of the competition and be a leader in your industry.
Getting started with gamification is no different from any other project. First, you need to gather information, by answering these five fundamental questions:
1. What problem you hope to solve with gamification, and more specifically, what behavior-related problem? Do you want forms to be filled out in more detail, reports to be submitted in a timelier manner, or co-workers to share more information with each other? Goals like these can be clustered under four main purposes: engaging, teaching, entertaining, and measuring.
In 2009, Foursquare launched a location based social network that allowed you to “check-in” at various venues, turning “life into a game”. The service was initially limited to certain metro areas, but after it opened, it reached 10 million users, which enabled the company to raise $ 50 M in 2011 at a valuation of $ 600 M. Foursquare was a hit.
One of the core drivers behind the craze to check-in using Foursquare and not competing services was Foursquare’s use of gamification. Gamification is the practice of using game design elements to reward behavior in a non-game setting. It can be used to reward interaction with a service, such as Foursquare, or to reward a desired enterprise-related behavior as in Enterprise Gamification for employees. Foursquare gamified check-ins, letting users get points for certain activities (such as checking into a new place), get badges for checking in and even get mayor status, if a user checked into a certain venue on more days than anyone else in the past 60 days. However, social networks caught up with location based check-ins and Foursquare’s status eroded. Its enormous popularity tapered off.
Recently Foursquare separated its check-in service into an app called swarm and the new Foursquare, which “learns what you like and leads you to the places you’ll love”. Earlier Foursquare even ceased its famous points and badges system, the drivers of its immense popularity in the first place. This is what Foursquare says about its realization that its game mechanics were breaking down:
“…When we built Foursquare, the game mechanics were meant to do two things: help you learn how to use Foursquare, and help make your real-world experiences more fun. We never set out to make a ‘game’… Points gave you a way to measure how exciting your outings were; badges were to give you a sense of accomplishment; and mayorships allowed you to compete with your friends… even we were surprised by how much people loved them.
Back in 2009 when we had 50,000 people using Foursquare, they were awesome. But as our community grew from 50,000 people to over 50,000,000 today, our game mechanics started to break down.”