Gamification beyond Learning and Development

Tannistho
4 min readFeb 3, 2020

‘Gamification’ is a term that is truly popular among HR and the training & development community. It is a technique that has been used for years in both classroom and online training sessions. As a training developer, I am often asked by my clients, ‘how do we gamify our induction process?’ or ‘what kind of game elements do we use in training our teams in leadership techniques?’ There are several examples that abound here. Collecting artifacts in the process of driving a ‘treasure hunt with the ultimate intention of stoking a user’s curiosity and take him beyond the training, is a common example. Similarly, collecting virtual goods and badges over a series of online trainings to increase one’s social currency is also a much used method. To address the needs of gamification, many Learning Management Systems (LMS) now come powered with gamification templates such as leaderboards, badges and gameplay objects.

However, if we step out of the ‘learning and development’ examples — gamification is also turning out to be an oft-used method of driving the following:

  • Adoption of new products in the marketing
  • New Product development
  • Research and development
  • Sales
  • Loyalty Programs

Let’s look at some popular instances (instances that have been showcased as gamification or have subtly used gamification techniques):

Fitness Bands

Fitness bands such as Fitbit are a great example of how gamification leads to adoption of new products in the market. One of the basic psychological tenets that Fitbit seemed to have explored was the fact that even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle you may not have the desired motivation to pursue an active one. Hence, why not gamify the whole motivation ‘thing’? At one end of the spectrum is a fitness tracker band and at the other is an untiring calculator that records everything about your movements, heartbeat, pulse rate and sets it against a benchmark. So, now you the more you lead an active life— you get an instant track record of your life benchmarked against others. This is an example of gamifying your need to exercise by tracking your every movements and highlighting what you should have done

Uber

The drivers are as much a product of Uber as the ride service and the app. If the drivers themselves do not match up to Uber standards, there is a chance that the next customer might not use the app and look for other options. But, the drivers are not Uber employees, so how does Uber ensure that they stay up to standards? The answer lies in badges. Every driver is rated based on their performance which also drive their morale, performance and status.

Just another example of how gamification can help you improve your product, even if you do not have direct control over it.

Hackathons

We have seen hackathons being used to hunt the right talent for an organization. Hackathons and challenges are also playing their part in developing new products and concepts. A classic example is the Smart Cities Challenges being undertaken in India. As the country moves towards transforming its cities into connected and intelligent cities, it has appealed to the creative and tech communities of the country in addressing several challenges that have ranged from creating logos to developing IOT solutions. Thus, from enthusiastic school students to organizations themselves are now participating in building the cities of the future. This is also creating a fair-play field for everyone — by clustering the efforts into structured categories and creating unique spaces for everyone to join the movement.

So, how do you gamify basic tasks? How do you bring gamification in every activities in the organization.

The interesting aspect of gamification is that with a little bit of creativity it can be implemented anywhere. It doesn’t need to be large in scale. It just needs to be interesting. Here are some examples of how motivation works in gamification: https://simplicable.com/new/gamification

Here’s an example that you can try:

What do you do to ensure that people come to your office sharp by 9.00 am? (Well, in the age of remote working, cloud based operations — it is no longer a necessity though). Here’s something you can do. You set up a digital leaderboard in your reception area. Whenever people punch in on time, you give them points which are tied to a reward at the end of the month. You connect the scores to the biometric ID of entry everyday. Make it open so that one competes with the other and score them on the total points accrued at the end of the month. But do not tag this same score to performance data being tested in appraisals, use it just as a game only with some tangible rewards at the end.

Can you think of simple activities in your office that can be gamified — for example scoring your teams on their project reports, scoring your IT or server time on ensuring 99% uptime, etc.?

Do share your ideas at tannistho@gmail.com

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Tannistho

Marketer, Instructional Designer, L&D Evangelist, Lifelong Learner, Intrapreneur