Gamification is the addition of gamelike elements to tasks or activities in the workplace, in points of business-consumer interaction, and in people’s daily lives. It is seen as a way to increase consumer and employee engagement and enlist emotion, and thereby change behaviors or motivate people to act. Any activity that can be tracked or measured can be gamified.
Some respondents to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey on the topic felt that gamification’s ability to engage and motivate would make it important to education, even if there are limitations to how far it might spread into other parts of everyday life.
As one person noted, “[Gamification] may not enter everyone’s lives in the form of entertainment but they will almost certainly encounter it in education and training programs.”
3 KEY FINDINGS
- Gamification holds immense potential for expansion, and the attention to this trend appears to be accelerating.
- Polling by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that a slim majority of Internet experts feel that gamification will continue to spread and become a bigger part of everyday digital experiences.
- More pervasive use of game mechanics in everyday life could usher in new types of blended experiences and organizational structures. It could also lead to overuse, “leaderboard fatigue,” or outright manipulation.
Gamification will be driven by a variety of forces in coming years, including:
- The further expansion of social media
- Smarter mobile devices and ubiquitous connectivity
- More precision GPS and location-based services
3 BUSINESS IMPLICATIONS
- Gamification clearly has a strong future, but where exactly it will go remains an open question. Experience may demonstrate that it can add significant value to certain well-defined categories of activity—such as mundane household tasks or, at the other extreme, complex problem-solving that relies on large datasets. It might also become an important enhancement to training simulations. However, gamification may prove less applicable outside narrow categories like these, especially if consumers balk at perceived attempts to manipulate. Experience in the marketplace is the only route to finding where its sweet spots lie.
- If work does indeed become gamified to the degree posited here, businesses will be assessed by employees—and potential employees—not only on their ability to provide interesting and well-paying jobs, but also on how fun and entertaining their positions are. For example, they will be judged on the game- based interfaces they use for workflow or the immediate incentives and rewards that are provided as part of gamified jobs—in addition to conventional measures such as salary, benefits, opportunity for advancement, etc. In other words, the degree to which a job is made fun and engaging through gamification will increasingly become a decisive factor in attracting the best talent.
- Organizations whose products are associated with what are often viewed as tedious everyday tasks should take to heart the comment of the expert who asked, “who’s going to argue with fun?” In fact, home cleaning and other mundane activities might turn out to be one of the most successful arenas for gamification. Family gamification schemes applied to cooking, cleaning, laundry, yardwork, and other household management tasks could help inject fun into these activities—and have the secondary benefit of positioning brands as helping parents teach their kids good lifelong habits. Companies such as a GreenGoose are already making waves in this space—e.g., the company’s Brush Monkey App uses a sensor on a child’s toothbrush to activate a mobile phone app with a dancing monkey to encourage proper brushing.