Zooming into the workplace presents a slightly different picture: Gallup’s 2016 State of Global Workplace study revealed that a staggering 84% of Australian workers are either not engaged or enthusiastic about innovating in the workplace.[i] This is quite the contrast to the engagement and drive to innovate we see amongst game players.
More than ever, organisations are striving for every source of competitive advantage. Despite this, organisations are not effectively using their largest untapped potential resource: people.
What if there was a way to harness the heightened level of engagement, drive, and focus observable in gaming to drive business outcomes? Specifically, to:
This is where gamification comes into play. Contrary to popular belief, gamification isn’t about playing games or making tasks entertaining, although enjoyment is likely to be a by-product. Rather, in a business context, gamification applies principles of game design and mechanics (i.e. providing a challenge, creating competition and rewarding success). These principles aim to ‘drive business objectives and motivate people through data’ as explained by Rajat Paharia[ii], who has written about gamification in the workplace. Industry analyst firm Gartner suggests gamification can actually change the brain’s chemistry to influence how employees feel and react to new concepts, radically transforming performance.
Since the early 2000s, some basic elements of gamification have been employed by businesses, and have become increasingly common since 2010 as social and reward elements have been used to increase loyalty and engagement. For example, the education industry has applied leader-boards, timed-challenges, virtual badges and certificates in online learning platforms such as Kaplan University and Harvard Business Simulations in order to motivate greater student engagement and learning. Nike in particular has applied digital elements in its Nike+ apps. Use of real time data analytics and integration with social media platforms have underpinned gamification features such as leaderboards benchmarked against users in social networks, as well as real-time audio-feedback and progress tracking to drive user engagement.