5 Key Insights from the Enterprise Gamification Forum (Part 1)

5 Key Insights from the Enterprise Gamification Forum (Part 1)


What gamification insights can we learn from the 2013 Enterprise Gamification Forum?

Last week, the Enterprise Gamification Forum has invited a multitude of speakers from various major industries to share their insights on gamification. As each speaker impart their own unique views on a host of topics,  common themes begin to emerge that any individuals who are interested in gamification should take heed.

1. Gamification is not just about 1 game mechanic

This first point can never be stressed enough. Arguably the most persistent and notorious myth of gamification systems is that it only involves points, badges, and leaderboards to drive engagement. On the contrary, those game mechanics make up only one part of a larger gamified ecosystem. Immersive gamified infrastructures are built upon objective processes which includes having clear strategic goals, defined metrics and constant reiteration among many others. Combined with a thorough understanding of gamification principles and various disciplines, gamification can then have the desirable engagement experience. Mario Herger from SAP Labs LLC sums it up, “it is through the combination of mechanics that makes the [gamification] experience whole.”


2. Define your goals and objectives

For individuals who are new to gamification, the subject may appear to be the holy grail to solve all the world’s problems. Rather than jumping ahead without giving any second thoughts, consider taking a step back and evaluate oneself. Ask yourself key questions in order to articulate the problems you are trying to resolve. Why are you utilizing gamification? What are your trying to accomplish? The evaluations can be expedited more effectively when an organization actively supports and guide the thought process. Global social media manager Leslie Lau elaborated how Cisco streamlined their employee’s gamification proposals with the use of a simple request form. Akin to a business proposal, the form compels employees to objectively think about the purpose of their proposal while defining the roadmap for eventual implementation.


Enterprise Gamification Forum
Gamification implementation is a team effort

3. Understand the cost

With the gamification hype at its peak, it can be easy to forget that implementation within an organization involves resources. Moreover, as the gamification design becomes more complex, the cost of money, technology and time needed to support the infrastructure increases alongside it. Nonetheless, this does not mean gamification system is impossible to implement without major allocation of resources. Walmart’s director of store innovation, Kurt Templeton explained how their gamification initiative was not only constrained by a finite budget, they were limited by the outdated technology they have to work with, going as low tech as IE6. However, by identifying their constraints, it helped his team to prioritize and focus on its primary goal, educating its Walmart employees on electronics and fresh produce sections. Through extensive trial testing using only display cards and employee feedback, Templeton established an informative digital questionnaire tool for nationwide chains. Referring to the above, drawing up a gamification proposal helps as it identifies both overt and hidden costs with a long run perspective.


4. Cater the language to your audience

National RPG examiner Michael Tresca discussion on the varied types of gamers, each with their own likes and dislikes draws parallels to the people who are being pitched on gamification. Some may find its potential and adopt it wholeheartedly, others may be apprehensive of the term and its presumed association with games only. As I have examined before, the key to engaging your audience is to customize your language to suit their understanding. While a younger workforce may be familiar with gaming concepts to convince, older personnel would perhaps be more familiar with enterprise terms. Without having to use the term “gamification”, one could still use the relevant terminologies that will sync with your target group to achieve the organization’s end goals.


5. Design and Deployment involves Everyone

Depending on the target scope and subject of the gamification system, the involvement of various individuals and departments in the implementation process would vary accordingly.  While it may seem daunting for larger organizations, the solution is rather simple, maintain constant communication between all involved parties. Scheduling a consistent meet up not only enables immediate updates, it allows for discussion and follow up action to be documented for full transparency as exemplified by AXA Equitable. By working closely with AXA’s financial and legal departments, lead manager Cora Hall and her team ensured full legal compliance with federal law when making their fianancial education game, Pass it On! Although organizations may now be operating in hyper-digital world, basic face to face communication is still a basic but necessary process.

From what we have observed thus far, it reminds us that gamification implementation is not as simple as one might hoped for. It involves continuous pursuit of understanding the principles and mechanics that powers gamification, deep introspection of design purpose as well as thorough feedback between various parties. The above pointers may serve as an initial guide to achieve successful deployment of gamification. Nevertheless, it begets the questions. Upon successful implementation, how could organizations further the effectiveness of their gamification systems?  In part two, we will examine five other vital lessons from EGF that can answer this question.

Make sure you read part two of the this post for 5 more insights!

 Image from wikimedia commons