According to TED Talk speaker Jane McGonigal, “The average young person today in a country with a strong gaming culture will have spent 10,000 hours playing online games by the age of 21. For children in the United States, 10,080 hours is the exact amount of time we will spend in school from 5th grade to high school graduation, if you have a perfect attendance record.”
This is an incredible statistic in itself, but using this gaming culture to our advantage is inevitably beneficial. More specifically, how can game playing mechanics be implemented into non-game player applications? Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Anthill Online James Tuckerman believes the rise of gamification technology is epitomised by this one expression: “Involvement begets commitment.” Foursquare uses gamification technology by way of ‘badges’. The more you use foursquare, the more badges you earn. They are not worth anything, in terms of money, but it lets a user to engage more actively with foursquare. Dropbox may seem like a service that is difficult to ‘gamify’. However, “Dropquest” was introduced in 2011 as an Internet scavenger hunt of sorts, requiring you to solve puzzles on Dropbox and outside of it. Quest completers are rewarded with at least 1GB of extra space, and the winner of Dropquest receives 100GB for life and an array of other Dropbox-related prizes. Gamification of a service-based industry is a great way to increase motivation in the workplace, particularly for those awful rinse-and-repeat tasks like filling out timesheets, for example. Task tools such as WooBoard, DropTask and the like are the Pokémon of staff management, says James. At the beginning you could have a tree trunk, perhaps, but as the project reaches completion the tree gradually grows branches, leaves, flowers, and birds. It serves as a visual reward, and can make those tedious procedures more satisfying to finish.
After all, people crave recognition for their efforts, and gamification is merely an automated way of recognising effort.
Does gamification cater only to Gen Y? James Tuckerman divides the workplace into Baby Boomers, Gen Xs and Gen Ys. “The baby boomers want to work with me as a consultant. Gen X will do whatever I say and they’re fantastic workers. Gen Y traditionally were a little bit more flighty—although they’re pretty much coming of age—but I used to joke about creating “tasko’tainment” jobs that had a beginning, middle and end, similar to a gaming structure. With this in mind, the game-like elements of foursquare and its badge system seems somewhat childish, and you may think that this is catered specifically towards Gen Y. However, the idea of rewarding people for maintaining a commitment to your business isn’t Gen Y-specific at all.
“If you talk to people who are all about motivating staff,” James says, “you can pay them heaps of money or give them the best iPads and the best laptops, but if they are not feeling rewarded for what they do, staff satisfaction is low and they will leave you.”
Gamification is an increasingly popular and effective trend. It can be applied to many aspects of business, from your website or mobile marketing activities to the way you incentivise your staff to keep them motivated. Early adoption is the key to staying ahead of your competitors. This article is based on an extract from the Innovation Through Technology webinar, which was presented by James Tuckerman and Rebekah Campbell. Click here to access the Innovation Through Technology webinar recording from the On-Demand Learning Centre.
This article was co-authored by Elizabeth Rowe. Elizabeth graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) at the ANU and a Masters of Media Practice at the University of Sydney. She is currently completing an internship with HerBusiness.