“Gamification describes the broad trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health and social change,” said Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner. In a nutshell, the goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviors and stimulate innovation. The opportunities for businesses are great, from having more engaged customers, to crowdsourcing innovation or improving employee performance.

Nowadays, it seems like companies have no problems in applying gamification to their product or service, you may know a couple of them like Foursquare and Badgeville. There are other more specific apps tackling education, the environment and the economy; but what about gamification at work? It seems businesses are struggling with the idea of playing games at work.

The first step for companies to embrace gamification is to understand that gamification applies game mechanics to non-game experiences, but the goal isn’t gameplay, it’s ongoing engagement. Organizations are beginning to realize that gamification doesn’t make business more ‘fun,’ it just helps change the way people perceive their work in a positive way.

“UPS began using video games to train newly recruited drivers after finding that 30% of candidates failed the company’s traditional training program, and the Hilton Garden Inn worked with Virtual Heroes to develop Ultimate Team Play, an interactive game that places employees in a virtual hotel,” Richard Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) says. “Even the U.S. Department of Justice‘s National Institute of Justice has developed a training game, called Incident Commander, in which emergency responders practice coordinating disaster relief efforts.”

With gamification in constant evolution, there is no doubt the future is bright. Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of, and lead the business trend, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization. Considering that most of us have at some point been exposed to playing video games, it shouldn’t come as a surprise  that gamification will continue to expand beyond entertainment and improve the way we, learn, work and play.

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