Gamification of the enterprise

By Maria Korolov, Network World |  Consumerization of IT, gamification

"They want the stuff that they see at work to be like Facebook, like Foursquare, like the iPhone," he says. "This is very different from 10 or 15 years ago, when there wasn't much technology developed just for the consumer."

And the trend is only accelerating, he adds.

"In five years, every new employee would have grown up with Facebook and mobile devices," he says. "This is certainly something that is working in favor of gamification of the enterprise as a promising [long-term] trend."

In addition, some of the individual techniques used as part of gamification strategies have been used by companies in more limited contexts for many years, Sundararajan says. Sales contests, for example, are something that salespeople enjoy and are motivated by, and are very common.

"Everyone who's ever walked into a call center or sales center has used a leaderboard," says's Zichermann. "Those have been used for 50 years or longer to motivate people. We know a lot about leaderboards, and that's just one example."

Another example is employee-of-the-month programs, which are common in many companies.

"Businesses have known for a long time that recognition can be used in place of cash rewards," he says. "What's new is that we have new language to describe it, and new technology to make it easier to do."

However, he would like to see more research into how well these new technologies work, he adds.

"There aren't any long-term studies that support the kind of current, broad, context-based solutions because this discussion didn't start until 2010," Zichermann says.

But gamification is about more than just badges and scoreboards. Those are just the start of the process of applying game techniques to work in order to make it more fun and engaging.

"We've done surveys at companies and the passion levels are very low - and the larger the company the lower the levels of passion," says John Hagel, co-chair of Deloitte's Center for the Edge. "If you believe, like we do, that passion drives extreme performance improvement, that's a real problem."

To find examples of passionate engagement, Deloitte looked to World of Warcraft, a massively multi-player online role-playing game.

"You get into the game in early stages and you're given very modest kinds of challenges that you can do yourself without any help," Hagel says. "And it draws you in further and the challenges get harder and harder and you're given an environment where you can connect to others and create teams to address those challenges."

However, he warns companies against trying to create a complex World of Warcraft-style game right from the start.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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