Why should you gamify innovation, anyway?

Photo: Colliefreund@Pixabay

Gamification relates to the desire for status, achievement and competition, making people feel fulfilled by their activities. But what benefits does this actually bring to your innovation initiatives?

By appropriately outlining gamified processes, you can:

  • Develop more loyalty in participants (whether they are customers, employees or others);
  • Promote more use;
  • Make a process go viral, radically increasing the number of participants;
  • Create a sense of identification with the brand, activity, product or other elements of the process.

These benefits are of extreme value within innovation initiatives, as any innovation manager well knows. In other words, gamification can play a leading role in motivating people and compelling them to participate and bring value to these initiatives – as leaders in innovation and management, such as Stefan Lindegaard, Paul Sloane, Matthew May and Michael Allen, have consistently pointed out.

When James Surowiecki wrote the bestseller ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ in 2005, he also highlighted the importance of gamification mechanisms to develop participation and sustainability in ideation processes. The benefits of gamifying innovation are also detailed by Gary Hamel (ranked as the world’s most influential business thinker by ‘The Wall Street Journal’):

‘Try to imagine what a democracy of ideas would look like. Employees would feel free to share their thoughts and opinions, however politically charged they might be. No single gatekeeper would be allowed to quash an idea or set the boundaries on its dissemination. New ideas would be given the chance to garner support before being voted up or down by senior execs. The internal debate about strategy, direction and policy would be open, vigorous and uncensored’.

CONTINUE READING:
All can play, all can win

FROM THE START:
Gamifying innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder/ pdc@exago.com
Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound Strategy and Sales – Latin America / frs@exago.com

Gamifying innovation: get to know your players

The greatest challenge in gamifying your innovation initiatives is to construct the process so that everyone, or at least the majority of people, will feel in the flow, as we’ve seen. But how can you efficiently engage as many ‘players’ as possible?

For that, you must first understand their different profiles. The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology classifies players of multiplayer online games into categories according to their gaming preferences. This framework works for most gamified situations.

a. Achievers
Players who prefer to get points, levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of success in a game. They’re looking for rewards in the status and prestige that comes with these items.

b. Explorers
Players that want to dig around within the environment. They don’t like timeframes requiring them to proceed because they enjoy exploring and discovering at their own pace (sometimes even more than progressing).

c. Socialisers
Those who participate and play for the social aspect rather than the actual game/challenge itself. These players are known as ‘hearts’. They like to interact with other people, and the game is just a tool or means to this.

d. Killers
They want to compete for the sake of competition, so they seek to vanquish and destroy other players. Showing everyone they are in control of the situation is their biggest motivation for participation. Killers are usually only 1% of the population, but they are the ones who participate the most intensively.

All of us tend to be in all quadrants depending on the project at hand and time in our lives. But identifying different players’ profiles helps when designing a gamified process and more effectively reaching target participants.

In a second step, while shaping a process that is appealing and sustainably engaging for the targeted participants, the designer identifies the engines that will guide them. This means understanding which game mechanics are more relevant to players’ specific desires (see the table below).

Source: Bunchball

The green dots refer to the most impactful game mechanics for each human desire. The grey ones show other mechanics that also have some relevance to specific desires.

All mechanics relate to the desire for status, achievement and competition. These are essential to reinforcing the engagement potential of gamified processes, so that people feel fulfilled by their activities.

But what benefits does this mechanics bring to your innovation initiatives? How can you apply it in developing them? We’ll discuss this in our next post.

CONTINUE READING
Why should you gamify innovation, anyway?

FROM THE START:
Gamifying innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder/ pdc@exago.comFrancisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound Strategy and Sales – Latin America / frs@exago.com

Gami…what? How to make innovation fun

Photo: Arina P Habich@Shutterstock

We’ve said that gamification mechanics can make innovation management initiatives more appealing and successful, while drawing your people’s attention to key business challenges. But how exactly does this happen?

Since the dawn of civilisation, generations have learned through games. From learning basic numbers and letters to eating and caring for others, games help transform boring activities.

There’s nothing wrong with fun. In fact, in modern society – including the corporate world – interacting and ‘playing’ with the Internet and mobile apps are part of our daily routine. You may not notice it, but most apps are actually productivity tools, with gamification to make them more attractive.

What is gamification all about?
Gamification is the use of game elements and design techniques in non-game contexts. These elements (also called ‘game mechanics’) include:

  • Points
  • Quests
  • Avatars
  • Social graphs (interaction)
  • Levels
  • Progression
  • Badges

Design techniques are used to make participation fun, while non-game contexts entail that the participant’s goal is other than success in the game. Anyway, a game is only a game when it’s voluntary. A handful of gamification characteristics make the process fun, attractive and engaging:

  • Feedback (immediate and constant)
  • Transparency (clear rules and visibility in the process and progression)
  • Progression (sense of moving forward)
  • Social interaction (knowledge sharing, competition and collaboration)
  • Recognition (badges, points and leaderboards)

Who’s in?
Gamification aims at making an activity enjoyable for participants, and this pleasure is achieved when the participant is ‘in the flow’. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an expert on the topic of happiness, describes being in the flow as ‘being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the precious one…’

The ‘flow’ needs to fall between boredom (too easy) and anxiety (too hard/confusing). The difficulty lies in making people feel in the flow. And this becomes even more complex when the community isn’t necessarily homogeneous – people sharing interests.

World of Warcraft players have a common interest – enjoying the game – but the same doesn’t always happen for employees of Company X. The challenge is how to construct the process so that everyone, or at least the majority of people, will feel in the flow.

To engage as many players as possible, the designer must first understand their different profiles. We’ll see how you can identify them in our next post.

CONTINUE READING:
Get to know your players

FROM THE START:
Gamifying innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder/ pdc@exago.com
Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound Strategy and Sales – Latin America / frs@exago.com

Gamifying innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges

More than ever, companies need to engage their employees to assure long-term viability. Yet, overwhelmed with information, people’s attention spans have become shorter and shorter. Their willingness to contribute to lateral activities has shrunk, particularly if these are boring or create anxiety. And innovation is often no fun…or can it be?

Innovation is at the top of every organisation’s leadership agenda these days. The renowned McKinsey Global Survey found that 84 percent of executives recognise innovation is very or extremely important to their companies’ growth strategy.

Worldwide, businesses and organisations realise they may be doomed to compete in a ‘red ocean’ where prices and margins sink downward. To prevent this downward spiral, new ideas and outside the box thinking are essential – to create differentiated business models, products and services, as well as competitive cost structures. This is no time to roll the dice and leave it all to luck.

But again, how can you draw your people’s attention to key business challenges? Gamification has proved to be a powerful way to close this focus gap.

In a series of posts, we will we take you through gamification’s definition and main features, presenting a model that efficiently adopts gamification mechanics – making innovation initiatives appealing and successful.

Ready to play the innovation game?

CONTINUE READING:
Gami…what? How to make innovation fun
Get to know your players
Why should you gamify innovation, anyway?
All can play, all can win
How exactly do we gamify innovation?

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder/ pdc@exago.com
Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound Strategy and Sales – Latin America / frs@exago.com

Ready to play the innovation game?

Photo: by Pawel Kadysz in Unsplash.com

More than ever, companies need to engage their employees to assure long-term viability. Yet, overwhelmed with information, people’s attention spans have become shorter and shorter. Their willingness to contribute to lateral activities has shrunk, particularly if these are boring or create anxiety. And innovation is often no fun…or can it be?

There’s nothing wrong with fun. Since the dawn of civilisation, generations have learned through games. From learning basic numbers and letters to eating and caring for others, games help transform boring activities.

In fact, you may not even notice it, but gamification is already altering daily routines. Think of how fitness and health apps, cooking apps, baby apps, music apps, have changed your life. How they tap into your motivation. They’re productivity tools, using game elements and techniques to make those activities more appealing and keep you going back.

Don’t just roll the dice
In the corporate realm, this is no time to leave it all to luck. Worldwide, businesses and organisations realise they may be doomed to compete in a ‘red ocean’ where prices and margins sink downward. To prevent this downward spiral, new ideas and outside the box thinking are essential – to create differentiated business models, products and services, as well as competitive cost structures.

You need to gather your people’s collective intelligence to find new answers. And gamification has proved to engage employees’ and stakeholders’ attention around your key business challenges.

Gartner has, in fact, predicted that by next year 40% of Global 1000 organizations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. To be ahead of the game, you have to be ready to play the game.

Understand the rules
In our paper, “Gamifying Innovation: How to engage your people in key business challenges”, we start by taking you through gamification’s definition and its main elements:

  • Points
  • Quests
  • Avatars
  • Social graphs (interaction)
  • Levels
  • Progression
  • Badges

We next share a handful of gamification characteristics that make the process fun and attractive. They are thought out to involve as many players as possible.

If World of Warcraft players have a common interest – enjoying the game –, the same does not always happen for employees of Company X. Therefore, game designers must first ascertain player’s different profile to effectively reach target participants. According to the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, you can have:

  • Achievers
  • Explorers
  • Socialisers
  • Killers

We help you understand how this framework works and to identify the engines that will guide players. These mechanics relate to the desire for status, achievement and competition. All are essential to reinforcing the engagement potential of gamified processes, so that people feel fulfilled by their activities.

Boosting your innovation initiatives
The benefits collected from appropriately outlining gamified processes are varied and very significant: Gamification develops more loyalty in participants (whether they are customers, employees or others) and more use. It can make a process go viral, radically increasing the number of participants, and it creates a sense of identification with the brand, activity, product or other elements of the process.

These benefits are of extreme value within innovation initiatives, as any innovation manager well knows. In other words, gamification can play a leading role in motivating people and compelling them to participate and bring value to these initiatives – as leaders in innovation and management, such as Stefan Lindegaard, Paul Sloane, Matthew May and Michael Allen, have consistently pointed out.

But how can you exactly gamify the innovation process to make it more inclusive, attractive, efficient, transparent and sustainable, delivering real results? If you´re interested in learning more, just request our paper or feel free to contact us.

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder
pdc@exago.com

Francisco Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound and Sales Latin America
frs@exago.com