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How to Pitch Gamification the Right Way

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Mastering the mechanics and principles for effective implementation of gamification is no easy feat for any aspiring gamification experts. Yet, mastering the art of articulating and pitching gamification to one’s own organization can be daunting task for many. How does one successfully pitch gamification to their colleagues and upper management?

Although the task ahead may seem imposing at first glance but with the right approach, your organization may soon warm up to the concept of gamification. The points that will be discussed are recurring themes that echo across all fields where gamification is implemented. Before setting out to champion the cause, here are two simple but very crucial questions that one should first ponder upon.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Prior to implementing any new business improvement initiatives, it is imperative that the individual and organization first articulate the problems that needs to be addressed. Could gamification be part of the problem solving sequence, or it actually masks inherent flaws within an  organizational process? If it is the former, advocates should then seek out case studies and examples. Using empirical evidence and data to support your case would provide a tangible means of measurement for your colleagues and upper management to asses upon. Being able to determine the goals and objectives for implementing gamification would enable the team to focus on the value of having a gamified system.

Who is the audience?

The key to engaging your colleagues about gamification is to customize your message accordingly to suit their understanding. For example, while a speaker may use key gamification terms such as rewards, achievements and recognition that may be relatable with a particular group, others may not be a receptive as one would hope for. By using the relevant terminology that will sync with your audience, one would be able effectively communicate the message of gamification across the board. In other words, proponents could still engage and discuss the concept with their audience without necessarily having to use the term ‘gamification’ itself.

Once advocates are able to answer these two questions, they would then need to articulate the benefits of gamification within the enterprise environment. The following are some key points on how gamification would benefit the enterprise environment and by no means mutually exclusive to one another. For that, advocates could tailor their message accordingly by integrating these factors into their discussion.

I. The power of games and the “serious game movement”: Organizations have realized the potential of games as a powerful medium. Practitioners in non-entertainment fields foresaw the potential in solving real world problems by turning it into a game.

II. Single, non game processes: Businesses have realized that core design principles and mechanics found in games could be used in non-game contexts such as problem solving, processes, or IT systems.

III. Global behavioral data integration: A rather recent growing trend, organizations realized how gamification platforms could be utilized to track behavioral data of users which in turn reveals previously unseen patterns that would be beneficiary to the enterprise.

While the advantages of implementing gamification seems irresistible , advocates should explain the unforeseen impacts of gamification that needs to be accounted for as well as dispelling its misconceptions. One would notice that these points would be easily resolved if the two core questions was addressed in detail by advocates.

  1. Using game mechanics and gamification would not bolster a flawed product or process. Customers simply will not purchase a inferior product or use shoddy services even if  they were offered points and badges.
  2. Effective gamification systems do not revolve around a single game element. Rather it is merging of various mechanics and principles that makes it whole. A popular misconception is that badges and achievements alone would ensure success and improved results; this is the idea that gamification is really the pointsification of a process.
  3. The presence of a gamification system may create systems of over-dependency and fatigue. The former may result from users becoming over reliant on the system to be productive in the workplace while the latter would be due to users becoming uninterested over time. Such was the case when IBM found a 50 percent decrease in user actions during an experiment to study the effect of taking game features out of a network.
  4. The existence of a gamification system would naturally incur attempts by individuals to game the system to further their own benefits. If organizations do not take into account of the inherent presence of cheating, it may disrupt the effectiveness of the system.
  5. Tying extrinsic rewards to artificial achievement  may benefit the enterprise in the short run but it does not attend to the needs and motivations of its users. The understanding of Bartle’s Player Types and  individual motivation would be most beneficial.
  6. The belief that gamification is solely the realm of gamers is still prevalent. Thus, advocates shoulder the responsibility of increasing awareness and educating their colleagues that gamification is the utilization of game principles and mechanics in solving real world problems.

Gamification is a fast growing concept within the enterprise environment but many remain uncertain of its purpose and benefits. By taking into account of the various aspects of gamification, it would help advocates clarify their aims as well as articulate their message over to their peers. Thus, to effectively champion for gamification, advocates need to not only have a firm grounding on core gamification principles, they must customize their own approach to relate gamification with their audience.

via Deloitte

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