I heard someone use the term “gamification” and I assumed it meant taking some idea or topic and turning it into an actual game. After doing some reading, I figured out that it actually means creating a “gameful” experience, and refers to applying game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems. I figured an introduction to gamification would be a good jumping off point, and after this introduction, I will follow up with a blog focused on gamification and its implications in the marketing world. So, to start, what is gamification and what does it look like in a real world context?
Gamification techniques have been successfully applied in non-game areas including education and entertainment in order to improve user engagement and allow for ease of use for numerous types of tasks. When you make any task feel more like a game, you can leverage people’s natural desire for competition, achievement, status, and community collaboration. By using our inherent competitive drive, we are more likely to complete tasks we would normally perceive as boring. For example, I loved typing class when I was little purely because we all competed through “Mavis Beacon” and it felt great to see your points go up. In much the same way, using leaderboards and points to encourage certain behavior has been shown to increase efficiency and productivity. A recent Gartner report states that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. Another recent survey shows that nearly 80% of students say they’d be more productive if learning was more game-like. This demonstrates that using gamification works across age ranges. A reason for this may be that the work force is made up of more millennials who grew up with gamification as a part of their learning process (see my typing example above). It makes perfect sense to utilize our natural inclination for competition, and the learning style we know to promote growth in the workplace.
Gamification in education is not an altogether new concept. What is new is that gamification is playing an increasingly larger role in every aspect of the business world. Stay tuned for my follow up blog diving into gamification and marketing as well as some great case studies.