Is gamification the way forward?

Exago’s team participated in Gamify 2017, an event gathering specialists to discuss the latest practices and the power and value of gamification for people, brands and organisations. “Gamification – The Way Forward” took place in the city of Porto, Portugal, on 6 June.

“Gamification applies game concepts and mechanics to everyday activities” to promote social connections, behaviour changes and additional engagement, according to Rui Cordeiro. The CEO at Fractal Mind, organiser of Gamify, talked about how games can make us dependent on incentives, feedback and overstimulation, or even create a dissonance with reality. Yet they can also establish an emotional commitment, and help develop memory, improve reflexes and learn by having fun.

This is quite important for brands seeking to gain their customers’ trust and involvement, explained Inês Drummond Borges, Marketing director at Worten. She then went on to say that “customers expect solutions, experiences, entertainment and events” from their selected brands and gamification is typically part of the latter three dimensions.

“It’s interesting to understand that our innovation management software allows companies to work on that first and more unexplored dimension Inês has mentioned, by making it appealing for people within and outside organisations to come together to find solutions, new ways of doing,” notes Exago’s head of Innovation Services, Francisco Bernardes. To Francisco, “this feeling of sharing a valuable and exciting challenge is the ultimate emotional and rational connection brands and organisations can establish with customers and with their own employees”.

The head of Strategy and Operations at LCG, Cristina Ferreira, spoke as well about why gamification is key to motivating employees and developing skills and competences within companies. “Eighty-seven per cent of employees are not involved at work” and those involved are actually “147% more productive than others”, so there’s an enormous potential for companies to unleash, she believes.

Two hundred entrepreneurs and professionals gathered at Gamify 2017 in Porto, also taking part in workshops on Disruptive Creativity and Gamification & Design Thinking as an Innovation Framework. The next conference will be held in November in Lisbon.

Brazilian Kyvo and the Korea Innovation Center bring startup communities together

Kyvo, an Exago’s consulting partner, has joined forces with the Korea Innovation Center (KIC) to select Brazilian entrepreneurs for the K-Startup Grand Challenge, South Korea’s most relevant startup acceleration programme. Applications are open until 6 June.

The K-Startup Grand Challenge is supported by Facebook, Adobe and IBM, as well as South Korean giants LG, Hyundai and Samsung and the country’s Science and Technology Ministry. When the challenge was held previously, 140 countries participated. The 50 final winners of the competition will receive investments of up to 166,000 US dollars plus mentorship and training in Seoul.

“We understand that the Brazilian ecosystem supporting SMEs or startups aiming to compete in the global market is very active. Besides, there are several quality startups in the Information, Communication and Technology area,” explains the president of KIC, Heonsoo Rhee. Hilton Menezes, co-founder and strategic designer at Kyvo, adds that Kyvo and KIC are also hoping “to create a meeting point between Brazilian and South Korean companies”.

An Exago partner, Kyvo Design-Driven Innovation is an innovation service provider that employs service design to improve clients’ experiences of services and digital products. Fully complementing Exago’s innovation management solution, Kyvo has created a three-step design process that uses different visual tools to deliver a great experience and relevant results to clients.

Kyvo is responsible in Brazil for Track, the Visa company’s acceleration and incubation programme, and is also the exclusive user of Global Silicon Valley acceleration methods in the country.

Getting started with the Daily Innovation Model

I’ve introduced my Daily Innovation Model, built to help companies see innovation as a daily function of their job. To start using it, you should first understand where you are exactly.

                         Innovation Quadrant for Corporate Innovation

Incremental to Radical innovation
The first continuum, going vertically from bottom to top is concerned with the type of innovation.

Practically everything in the world builds upon something else and hence, is incremental. But relative to each other some are less so, i.e they are more radical. For example, the iPod as a whole was more incremental than radical. But iTunes was more radical than incremental. The original Wright brothers’ airplane was more radical. Subsequent aircraft were, to an extent, incremental.

Having said that, the iPod, the Boeing 747 and other products were also radical in the way that they contained cutting edge technologies. And hence, each of our perspectives might vary, resulting in the same product being placed at different points on the continuum. There is nothing wrong with that since there are no absolutes in this game.

Product and Process innovation
The second continuum, going horizontally from left to right, is concerned with the focus of the innovation.

When you try to answer the question, “Are Uber and Airbnb products or processes?”, you cannot be faulted for getting tied up in knots. You might say, they are both services. For our definition, the term Product implies services as well – anything that is delivered to the end user.

A pure process on the other hand is “a way of doing things,” i.e. how we create the actual product or service. So manufacturing is a process that creates, say, a car. Or analysis of financial transactions is the process that delivers the service of a company audit. In the app world, the code and technology behind the scenes is the process that creates the interface and delivers the service.

Context, however, is important. Manufacturing is a process for an auto maker. It consists of machines that combine together to produce a car. But the machine is a product for another manufacturer, whose end user is the auto maker. See, it can get complicated! Hence, the continuum.

Putting the Daily Innovation Model together

“Innovation is not for us”, they say

By Rumman Ahmad. An MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University, Rumman trains, teaches and facilitates groups of people to learn and apply the creative process to solve problems, energizing and motivating them to do their best. He is also the organizer of an annual conference on innovation in Pakistan. An Exago partner since 2016 in this key geography, Rumman has developed a Model for Daily Innovation which can be complemented by Exago’s innovation management software.

“Innovation is not for us”, they say

If I had a dollar for every time that someone said that to me, I wouldn’t need to work another day in my life. As someone who is trying to get corporations in Pakistan to understand the value of innovation, this declaration is extremely frustrating. The commonly stated reasons for shunning change and innovation I hear are:

  1. Our product/service is standardized and does not require innovation.
  2. Our industry (generally financial markets) is heavily regulated and does not allow innovation.
  3. We are in a sellers’ market and can sell all our production without fuss. Why bother changing anything?

There are partial truths in these statements that lull the protagonists into a false sense of security, and hence portend a dark future for their business. Take the famous case of Blockbuster. At the top of its game it had 9,000 stores, renting out physical DVD’s, videos and games in the US and overseas. In one particular year, it made $800 million in late fees alone. Along came Netflix and first started up a “DVD by mail” business, then morphed into streaming, has close to 100 million subscribers and is now producing its own shows, such as House of Cards. It spends over $5 billion a year on production costs alone.

Blockbuster, meanwhile, declared bankruptcy and recently closed its last store. Interestingly, Blockbuster had an option to buy Netflix for $50 million in 2000, but showed it the door. Meanwhile, Netflix was valued at $55 billion in Dec 2015 ! If you had asked Blockbuster in 2000 whether they needed to innovate and in what direction, they would probably have kicked you out.

There are quite a few other examples of companies being blindsided by new products, new technologies and apps. The problem is that it is not a stealth attack that sends them under, but rather, an inability to accept and foresee change and the need to constantly innovate. Like a frog that is put into a cauldron of cold water and then unsuspectingly boiled over a slow flame, by the time these companies realize that the water is too hot, it is too late.

This got me thinking about how to present innovation to companies, to help them see it as a daily function of their job rather than the workings of a mad scientist locked up in a high tower, dreaming of, and delivering, the next life altering gizmo. That thinking resulted in the birth of my Daily Innovation Model, as follows:

                       Innovation Quadrant for Corporate Innovation

Curious? Let’s see it in closer detail next.

Getting started with the Daily Innovation Model
Putting the Daily Innovation Model together
How to conquer your Daily Innovation Zone
Creativity, creative leadership and the value of innovation management

By Rumman Ahmad. An MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University, Rumman trains, teaches and facilitates groups of people to learn and apply the creative process to solve problems, energizing and motivating them to do their best. He is also the organizer of an annual conference on innovation in Pakistan. An Exago partner since 2016 in this key geography, Rumman has developed a Model for Daily Innovation which can be complemented by Exago’s innovation management software.

Five key dimensions for building your innovation challenges

In the process of setting objectives for your business goals, you should always think SMART – as management guru Peter Drucker applies this expression. To make your objectives easy to understand and monitor, they need to be Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-related. This mnemonic can be useful when establishing innovation challenges.

Challenge definition functions as the central pillar to your innovation initiatives, so you need to allocate time to consider this. Defining these elements is that first fundamental step that will help you create new paths.

Still, innovation challenges are not only pure objectives but also a means to achieve something in the process – people’s engagement, business alignment or a corporate culture of innovation, for instance. Inspired by Drucker’s criteria, we find it more pragmatic to structure challenges around the agents involved.

To do this, we have developed a hands-on toolkit to help define and identify vital challenges, ask the right questions and know how to ask them correctly, by considering the following when shaping your challenges:

If you are asking that extra mile from your employees, you surely want to channel their awareness towards a real priority and to tackle an explicit, solvable problem, engaging your people’s collective intelligence and concentrating on what really matters. You need to also remember to leave some space for more disruptive ideation, low-hanging fruit and other demands that can, in their own time, become equally important.

As we’ve seen, every company identifies with the more typical macro themes, including operational efficiency issues, better customer experience, sales and marketing strategy and sustainability goals. Some related challenges will more naturally address groups or departments and require specific skills, while other challenges will address your entire company.

This balance is fundamental, as you may need more expertise, but you don’t want to totally exclude anyone from this collaboration process. Your people’s cumulative know-how and experience are, in fact, your most valuable assets. For this reason, every cycle should include challenges to which everyone can relate, to which they connect intellectually and emotionally.

The ‘having the right processes in place’ is key to guaranteeing that ideation and discussion are open to everyone and that you can easily activate and harness your people’s collective intelligence. Different types of valued participation need to be incentivised and rewarded, to get the best out of each of your employees, individually and as a crowd.

Finally, you need to turn top ideas into real projects to assure your initiative’s credibility and keep people engaged through into the following challenges’ cycles. These new ideas coming out of your innovation pipeline will work together to make your business evolve every day.

You never know from where the next great idea will come. But you do know that you have to embrace incremental innovation, motivating your teams to take part in the ultimate challenge of continuously growing together, professionally and as a company.

Do you want to have a look at our complete Idea System Launch Toolkit? Reach us at:

Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO/
Francisco Bernardes, Exago’s head of Innovation Services/

Your ultimate innovation challenge – what works and what doesn’t