Gamification – another business trend or a powerful means to enhance efficiency and quality of work? Gamification pioneer Yu-kai Chou shares his insight about this topical issue.
All humans have feelings, ambitions, insecurities and specific reasons for doing certain things. Gamification is the craft of deriving engaging elements found typically in games and thoughtfully applying them to real-world activities. It is a human-focused approach that optimizes feelings, motivations, and engagement as the basic foundation for designing systems.
Since game designers have spent decades learning how to keep people consistently engaged with repetitive activity loops towards “purposeless” goals, games are a great source of insight for human-focused design. Think of chess, hide-and-seek, or Monopoly – you could stretch back centuries to learn what game designers can teach us on creating compelling, playful experiences.
In a few short years, gamification has reached a social tipping point and is starting to creep into every aspect of our lives, from education, work, parenting, and all the way to healthcare and scientific research. In an industrial context, gamification is often seen in training: companies allow new trainees to overcome difficult challenges within the simulated environment that causes game-like feel to actual challenges. The research indicates that simulated training can reduce the annual training costs by more than 50 percent on just the equipment operation and instructor time.
The academic studies also suggest that gamification can increase both the efficiency and quality of training. Several defense organizations, academic institutions and companies like NASA, Honda and John Deere have implemented gamification techniques in training. These gamified simulators allow the company to track data on each person's performance, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of these employees to both analyze and then utilize in the workplace.
A game changer?
How can a company make optimal use of gamification? And are there possible pitfalls that should be taken into consideration?
It is important to remember that gamification is beyond simply using points or badges to motivate people towards desired behavior. Good gamification implementation relies on thoughtful design that applies the eight identified inner core drives (see the picture). Only when the core drives are balanced can a company implementing gamification then create long lasting and engaging experiences, which in turn generates sustainable business ROI.
- Gamification expert and author, president of Octalysis group
- Yu-kai Chou is a gamification pioneer and international keynote lecturer for entities such as Stanford University, TEDx and Accenture. In 2014, Yu-kai was rated #1 in the Top 100 Gamification Gurus by the World Gamification Congress.