Gamification is hot right now. Businesses are seizing on this trend and figuring out how to apply elements of game play to their products, daily work routines, and to increase customer engagement.
But what exactly IS gamification? Is it earning points, bonuses, prizes? Is it competing against others? What does this have to do with business? Is fun itself a good business strategy?
Turns out if you make something fun, people are more likely to want to do it.
(Hey, my kid daughter could have told you that!)
Three Power-Ups for Gamifying Your Company
Gooi businesses know the value of making things fun both inside and outside the workplace. A gooi workplace is enjoyable – for employees, shareholders, and customers or clients.
Wikipedia has this to say about gamification: “A core gamification strategy is rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks. Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, and providing the user with virtual currency.”
Turning things into a game can do this for your business:
- Better engage your customers
- Find new solutions to old problems
- Make traditionally tedious tasks fun and addictive
Here’s how some companies did this, inside and out.
Power-up #1: Better Engage Your Customers with Fun
I bet you remember this video from 2009. Would more people take the stairs, if it was fun to do?
In 2009, Volkswagen launched thefuntheory.com. Viral videos shared ideas like the piano staircase. It then evolved into a competition where people could submit their ideas for making ordinary tasks fun.
Rewarding desirable behavior is a proven method of reaching goals. And games provide rewards. Climbing a staircase that turns your steps into a song is really very fun.
Power-up #2: Find New Solutions to Old Problems
In 10 days, gamers were able to solve a problem that had eluded scientists for 15 years.
Jenn, our resident Salonist, loves the example of Foldit. If you want to understand the power of game players, look no further than the video game where players solved puzzles about protein folding.
Protein structure prediction is important to several fields of science (Wikipedia again), but not always easy to do. The UW Department of Biochemistry collaborated with The Center for Game Science at University of Washington to put the problem-solving powers of online gamers to work on predicting protein folding.
The 57,000 Foldit players who produced an accurate 3D model of an AIDS-causing monkey virus in 10 days, were all listed as authors in the peer-reviewed journal Nature article that resulted. That’s a résumé-builder right there.
Power-up #3: Make Traditionally Tedious Tasks Fun and Addictive
Bluewolf, a global consulting firm, uses Salesforce plugins to gamify social collaboration within the company. The Bunchball Nitro for Salesforce plugin rewards employees for completing collaborative tasks such as:
- Tweeting and sharing content on LinkedIn
- Publishing a blog post
- Earning a 50+ level Klout score
What a great way to get employees over the hurdle of learning and wanting to use social media professionally.
Gooify Your Business with Gamification
Ready to get Gooi? Pretend your hiking gear business, Hikee, is ready to get gaming. Here are the three steps to take:
- Start with your goal. Yes, every process in business starts with this step, but it’s an important one. You don’t want to assign points to things until you know why.Hikee wants to connect with the hikers and campers who use Instagram to share photos from their trips and their gear. The word-of-mouth potential for Hikee is big.
- Identify your measures of success inside and out and create the game structure. Internally, Hikee employees can create a game structure for identifying relevant Instagram hashtags, following avid hikers and liking/commenting on their things, and getting new followers. Externally, Hikee could offer discounts and rewards to their followers for sharing pictures of their Hikee gear or pictures from a trip using Hikee gear.
- Let the games begin! Hikee should start their internal game before launching their external game. The internal game can be an important discovery process that informs the game they play with their customers. Similarly, employees should be able to join forces and complete quests. Don’t forget to reward the employees who make it to the top.
I think games are #soGooi. What other great examples have you seen? Do you have other steps you’d recommend?