Rypple is a software company with products aimed at making a better workplace. By using elements of gamification and positive motivation they have created innovative products that borrow elements of feedback from the game world. In the forums and chat windows of Massively Multiplayer Online games, players have occasionally compared their game experiences to the jobs they hold in the physical world. These are games which, in may cases, grow to resemble second jobs, one that you pay for the privilege of performing. In these virtual worlds, goals are clearly delineated in quests, but chances are, your job does not involve slaying dragons.
My online friends and guildmates often said that the instant gratification and satisfaction of watching a progress bar fill or a monster die beat out an interminable, vaguely advancing work project any day. In the work-place, a manager would give a semi- or even annual performance review, but any grind in an MMO is accompanied by some kind of progress bar to make you feel like the most minute step is significant progress on the way to your goals.
Rypple is an attempt to bring this kind of active goal-setting and constant feedback to a workplace setting. Its interface, a cross between an achievements page and Facebook, allows a member of a work team to interact with his or her colleagues a variety of ways. It has a system for tracking the assignment and completion work. This is divided into overarching “goals,” which are shared among the team as a whole, and smaller “tasks” which can be assigned by and to individuals. It’s similar to theposter-with-checkboxes familiar to many-an-office, but with added interactivity and connectivity.
It also has a system of “thanks,” where any team member can publicly or privately give commendation or appreciation to another. The third major feedback component is “Get Feedback,” which allows any user to post questions and receive answers anonymously from the other members of the group. It even acts as a kind of social tracker, allowing the user to take and organize notes on one-on-one meetings for each individual in the group.
If the entire group is invested in it, Rypple certainly seems like a major leap beyond stilted performance reviews and tedious meetings. All too often in the workplace, it feels like the only time a superior will go out of their way to offer feedback is if something overwhelmingly negative happens. Hopefully, with the required effort to praise significantly lowered, Rypple will allow workers to feel like they are accomplishing something and gaining recognition. It might not be levelling up, but it’s the next best thing.