Gamification

Gamification is a hot new buzzword in the business world, but it’s been around for over a decade. It’s the idea of applying elements that makes games fun into just about any kind of activity or process. The most common gamification process in the business world is in the field of marketing—“Make it fun, make it interactive.”

Another process or activity that is incorporating gamification is: filling out insurance applications—reach page 3 you get a medal, reach page 5—Boom! A little wizard might pop up saying, “You’re a Wiz! Keep going!”

Gamification is even being used in exercise. If you look at gyms like Orange Theory Fitness, they pit individuals or teams against other teams and the person exercising can see in real time who’s working harder and who’s in the lead on the screen. This motivates the other teams to get moving. It also helps that they have a coach up there giving feedback in real time.

Are you a runner? If so, have you ever heard of the app called Zombies, Run! It’s one of the most popular exercise game apps out there with over 1,000,000 downloads. You plug your headphones into your phone, listen to the storyline and music, next thing you know, “There’s a zombie! Run!” You take off running. As you run, you come along things that you can pick up that will help you with your quest. Music, points and sense of danger, all of these elements are part of gamification or game theory. Who knew running could be so fun?

Some other elements of gamification are: Status, Access, Power and Stuff.

  1. Status—it doesn’t matter if it’s Military Badges, “Power Seller Status,” Level-statuses; all of these things make people feel important. And the best thing about them is they’re free. It doesn’t cost anything to make people feel important because they only get these if they accomplish something.
  2. Access—this also can be free, but it is very valuable to the person obtaining it. Why is it valuable? Because normally the person would be able to get close to it. Whatever it

Let’s say you worked at People or Forbes magazine, interviewing Oprah or Warren Buffett may feel like just another day at the office. But if you’re a person who enjoyed reading about celebrities and you wanted to learn how to get rich, and you never met a billionaire, much less two famous billionaires as Oprah or Buffett, this would feel like the opportunity of a lifetime.

  1. Power—everyone likes a little power, even if we don’t want to admit it. Some just let it go to their heads like an elementary school hall monitor or that first month never-been-a-manager-before-manager. But in gamification, power equals advantage and everyone likes that.
  2. Stuff—this is the one that most people think we want the most. But most of the times that’s not true. Free things, a discount and cash-back is nice, but look at the three above things and really think about what you want more?

Would you rather skip a 15 minute line at Starbucks and walk right up to the front, have your drink ready, pay with a “Speed Pass,” and go? Or would you rather wait 15 minutes in line and have a free-coupon for any drink you want?

Most people would rather walk by everybody and still pay. Why is that? Because humans are not rationale creatures and gamification incorporates this. This is why you still see the claw-crane games crammed in the corner of an arcade begging for some sucker to grab a three-cent stuffed animal for a $1.00 that will take $6.00 or $7.00 to get.

“Oh, but it’s so fun and my kid really wants one.”

Sucker!

 If you are interested in becoming certified in gamification, the Engagement Alliance is offering classes through UDemy. Of course they have four levels, each varying in difficultly, price and amount of work that needs to be done.

Wonder how you can use this idea to get employees motivated? There’s an app of course! It’s called Due Props. Let’s face it, no one likes doing, peer-reviews, annual reviews or feedback forms. Due Props lets you give instant feedback to peers, employees and even higher ranking people than you. As data is collected, it can be complied for a more comprehensive review later. Want more info? Click here.

So why should gamification matter to you? The biggest reason is because it’s going to change the way you do things and you probably won’t even notice that it’s happening to you. From exercise, to filling about long boring applications, to getting your performance evaluations at work, gamification is going to creep into your everyday life and hopefully you will have more fun doing it; whatever it is.

Want to dig deeper? Two of the biggest Gamification Gurus are: Gabe Zicherman and Yu Kai Chou. You can check them both out by clicking the links.

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If you want to read more on the topic, Dr. Karl Kapps has an excellent book called, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction.

Ralph Kosters’s A Theory of Fun is also a good one.