By 2015, 50% of companies that manage innovation and research will use gamification to drive innovation, according to a press release by Gartner. As gamification is just beginning and few public examples exist today, this finding means that the next four years are going to see rapid changes in management of the enterprise.
According to Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner, “Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of, and lead, the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization.”
The press release sites a few examples where changes are already beginning to take place including the World Bank’s Evoke, but the most interesting example is Idea Street. Idea Street is an internal project of the United Kingdom’s Department of Work and Pensions, where employees interact and share ideas. The project includes a few basic game mechanics like badges and leaderboards, but the intrinsic driver of sharing ideas and collaborating on projects is the primary motivation behind the project. Idea Street facilitates the process. There is a case study available on Idea Street from Gartner, and the findings show that within the first 18 months, the project had around four thousand users, generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which have been implemented within the Department.
Idea Street exemplifies some of the more general strengths of gamification, as explained by Gartner:
1. Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real world, feedback loops are slow (e.g., annual performance appraisals) with long periods between milestones. Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.
2. Clear goals and rules of play. In the real world, where goals are fuzzy and rules selectively applied, gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve goals.
3. A compelling narrative. While real-world activities are rarely compelling, gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity.
4. Tasks that are challenging but achievable. While there is no shortage of challenges in the real world, they tend to be large and long-term. Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to maintain engagement.