Gamification! It’s definitely one of the business buzz words doing the rounds these days.
In fact, a recent study by Gartner predicts that by 2015, 40% of the top 1000 global organisations will use Gamification as their primary mechanism to transform business operations.
Business buzz word – check
Big business momentum – check
Huge predicted spends – check
Then, why do I keep hearing such confusion around what Gamification actually means and also, why are the doomsayers predicting it as nothing more than a fad?
Let’s start with a definition
Given the above, it’s not as some people often think, automatically dismissing Gamification’s place within their organisation, “How is Sonic the Hedgehog going to help my sales team hit targets?”, nor is Gamification solely an online/virtual medium.
Gamification is purely a set of rules designed to meet a specific objective or achieve a required outcome and we have been using it for hundreds of years - we simple rely on people’s desire for competition, status or reward.
Even as a child I would often get a gold star for finishing a book, an extra hour of TV for being well behaved. A game, I often played with my younger (very talkative) siblings involved the game of “whoever can stay quiet the longest… wins“- though that particular game never lasted very long.
Gold stars, TV and sweet, blessed silence have simply been replaced by points, badges and league tables.
Those doomsayers may be on to something though, Gartner also predicts that by 2014, 80% of gamified systems will fail their business objectives due to bad design. As always, good design is the key ingredient.
Gamification, when designed correctly can provide a huge boost towards a company’s objectives. An example of a Gamification success story comes from the US Army and their "America's Army" game – original designed as a recruitment initiative, it has been downloaded over 9 million times, and according to the Army Subcommittee Testimony, 28% of visitors go on to visit the “Go Army” recruitment website. The original concept has grown and the game is now also used to develop, train and educate US soldiers.
So, what are the key factors to be aware of when designing your game to ensure it meets its required objectives? We will discuss that in the next blog in the series. The third and final instalment will look at implementing Gamification into effective and engaging Learning & Development initiatives.
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