As mobile phones and social media make this the era of SoMoLo (Social/Mobile/Local) technology, gamification, the use of game dynamics, is quietly becoming a bigger force for many businesses.  By 2015, according to Gartner, Inc., more than half of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. The Gartner report says that by 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.

Games? No, not games. Game mechanics. Let’s get the difference straight. Games are one thing, but the mechanics that make games interesting and engaging can make work and exploration, well, interesting and engaging – and yeild better productivity along the way.

One of the best examples of game mechanics in business is the American Express card. It is not easy to get, and then you get a green card. Then a gold, a plantum and black and then the clear one that always gets lost in your wallet because it is clear. The game mechanics is achievement. According to the GameWiki, “Achievements can be easy, difficult, surprising, funny, accomplished alone or as a group….  Achievements are often considered “locked” until you have met the series of tasks that are required to “unlock” the Achievement.”  This is just one of many different mechanics.

According to Gartner, “The goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviors and stimulate innovation.” To this end, they broke our four principal means of driving engagement through gamification:

– Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real-world, social media expedites data collection from customers, but engaging customers allow even more feedback cycles and product/services improvement.

– Clear goals and rules of play. In other words, don’t tick off your customers.

– A compelling narrative. The user must be engaged to complete the activity. Failure to engage is failure.

– Tasks the are challenging but achievable. This means more levels so winning IS a believable option.

“Where games traditionally model the real world, organizations must now take the opportunity for their real world to emulate games,”  said Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner. “Enterprise architects must be ready to contribute to gamification strategy formulation and should try at least one gaming exercise as part of their enterprise context planning efforts this year.”

 Photo Courtney: Flickr /  The.Comedian


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