Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. When executed properly, gamification creates value beyond added entertainment to mundane business processes or even data collection. In fact, the overarching goal of gamification is to provide incentive and therefore inspire change or adoption of behavior. As you may suspect, the idea of gamification is not a new one. For years, those of the civilized world have been incentivizing each other. Business men and women who embody the values of their organization and encourage profitability are rewarded with promotion. Consumers who are members of rewards programs with hotel chains or airlines have been playing along with gamification without realizing it.
Put simply, gamification is a means of utilizing technology to create scenarios that incentivize users to adopt practices. To do so, companies are using game mechanics such as narratives, sense of community, goals, rewards, and recognition to inspire employees and/or customers to action.
Components of Gamification
The use of the components of gamification varies by scenario due to the complexity of the underlying psychology of gaming. Most obviously, points, levels, and badges are not rewarding in themselves but rather the underlying phenomena such as social status, group identification and reputation. Game mechanics are therefore unlikely to affect everyone in the same way. For example, some people are inclined to seek status, while others may be status averse.
Gamification techniques are beneficial beyond the world of entertainment. The multitude of applications of gamification spans several industries, such as:
- Life Sciences – Games to ensure pharmaceutical adherence
- Healthcare Payer – Games to encourage healthy behavior from members as well as customer engagement
- Insurance – Games to incentivize safe driving behavior as well as customer engagement
- Banking – Games to incentivize customer engagement
Organizations, such as Google and Salesforce.com, which are incorporating gamification into their practices, are gaining in a big way. Several organizations are already experiencing increased customer retention and employee productivity through execution of gamification techniques. In fact, Gartner suspects that, “more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application,” by 2015.
We at West Monroe Partners believe that enterprises can utilize games to create more compelling engagement with customers and gather valuable data about their behavior, as well as motivate and influence employees. The value of gamification lies in finding the right combination of game mechanics that will resonate with stakeholders to drive performance.