“Wikipedia: Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors, by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems and not being a distraction, and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites. Available data from gamified websites, applications, and processes indicate potential improvements in areas like user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, or learning.”
Remember the time in school, when we joined uniform groups like the scouts and girl guides? Badges were everything. We take part in events to earn that badge; we trained our drills and skills to get the 1st class instead of being content with the 3rd class badge. Gamification has been around for a while, and we find them often in various platforms of games, which incorporate elements such as achievement badges, recognition levels, ranks, expertise levels, leader-boards, progress bar (visual progress indicator), some virtual money ($$), points (award, redemption, giving etc), head to head challenge and many others. Even Tripadvisor.com has a achievement badges to rank the novice and casual reader from the very earnest contributor, earning the highest level of recognition.
How, then can we apply some of these elements into an enterprise application project spanning multiple users from different backgrounds and expertise level, to encourage adoption, usage and contribution? On the project management side of things, RedCritter is a project management software that incorporates gamification elements into its PM workflow. But what I am looking for, is some adoption of features that entice system users (end-users) to support the adoption of a new application system.
Perhaps we can put in place certain gamification elements in knowledge management systems, FAQ-style system, or self-help forum in company’s intranet. For workflows that are mundane and boring, perhaps one way is to capture the frequency (and hence, the level of “expertise” in filling out certain forms e.g. when should field A indicate this, or what if customer has this situation, how should I fill up Section C). This may help improve user engagement to typically “sterile” enterprise applications . It may also improve timeliness of data entry (e.g. if an electronic form/follow up report) is filled up on the same day, users get 5 points, if the next day, 3 points, and anything between 3 to 5 days, 1 points. More than that zero points).
Of course, to further enhance the implementation of systems like this, the management folks could also have achievement award at the end of the work year to recognise the “dedication” of the staff to the business by being an efficient and responsive staff. So perhaps, by putting a little more effort into gamifying the use and adoption of a new application system, we could potentially increase their morale, even quality of work (e.g. using a readability scale to gauge simplicity of report), productivity (encourage them to think of better ways to “score” higher points), retention (since morale is increased), and perhaps improving quality of conversation at the water-cooler or at lunches!