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April 18, 2013

Enterprise Gamification - "Design" matters!

For those who are seriously interested in Gamification, if there is one critically important aspect that will decide the life and value of the initiative, it will be the 'Gamification design'. For a simplified Gamification pilot, design might just be points, ranking and few badges but for Gamification to be a strategic tool for the enterprise, designing is not a trivial affair at all. Design in Gamification solutions has a wide spectrum of elements that need to be carefully handled as the solution is done for a specific use-case.

As I dived deep into variety of Gamification solutions, I started to discover various design patterns that can be very helpful in making design decisions. Many of the Gamification projects being done around the globe in are largely experimental (so called 'pilot' projects) in my perspective and if the initial trial is successful, organizations will set their future path further from there which invariably will need to have answers to following concerns:

  1. How to scale the pilot solution to an 'enterprise-wide infrastructure' level
  2. How to evolve the features and experiences for the users to sustain the engagement while delivering the desired outcomes

This is where Gamification design becomes important to manage both of these concerns in an appropriate manner. Gamification design is not quite like the regular software design as far as my experience goes. 

From methodology angle, we can have some degree of 'formal requirements' captured but the solutioning for Gamification largely revolves around concept design, creative business thinking and little bit of what I call sixth sense of the Gamification designers. In such a scenario, it always helps to guide the sixth sense solutions with certain best practices that allow to validate the concept design and thought processes.

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November 20, 2012

Is Gamification paradigm suitable for your enterprise? - Part 1 of 2

Good question? Definitely a good one but I don't think that's really a right one if it is what you as a business leader is thinking about.

Right question to ask should be - "Where can Gamification make a meaningful impact inside my organization?" And reason is that while thought-leaders across the globe might be splitting the hair over definitions of the Gamification trying to make it clinically perfect and a highly 'frame-worked' paradigm, the citizens of the extra-ordinary social graph out there are progressively redefining how the digital engagement will rule the world - an inevitable shift that will penetrate the enterprise boundaries without much corporate control available to exercise. And that's the part of the story that makes all the difference for choices that enterprises need to make.

While interacting with the business leaders on the Gamification possibilities in their enterprises, I observed wide variety of emotions ranging from 'What has this got to be with my business?' to 'We can't allow games inside enterprise' to 'Show me how it helps in my industry' and many similar. Broadly, I can sum up all different emotions pertaining to the adoption of the Gamification into following two categories:

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October 16, 2012

Gamification - shifting the center of gravity from 'systems' to 'people'

I have been keenly observing the IT industry dynamics since last one decade. There has been a great deal of effort and investment in filling up the process automation gaps in the enterprise processes in last 10 years. This automation was critically necessary to manage the scale, speed and complexity of the business operations. As realized during the large transformation programs of business automation, 'people' - customers, end users, partners etc. -  were the most important factors to get this automation right and make it effective towards the strategic purpose of the large IT investments. Without that, none of the other advance opportunities like business innovation, business intelligence, collaboration, business mobility etc. would have had any chance of survival.

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September 28, 2012

Farmville and Angry birds - could they have some useful takeaway for the enterprises?

Those who have played 'Farmville' and 'Angry Birds' know how much fun it is. 100+ million hours being spent globally every week on Farmville and Angry bird combined - 'fun' part is fairly evident. How would you feel if I say that there are hidden secrets of the people engagement techniques in these games? This is what I realized after thoroughly analyzing the mechanics behind these games.

I was so much intrigued by the addiction and 'pull' created by these games, I closely monitored the features, rules, options and engagement styles of these games. I tried to figure out forces that kept my interest sustained in this game, made me spend time on seemingly mundane acts in these games and ultimately made me happily do things that the game ownewrs wanted me to do on the platform. I explored these issues like a layman to understand the working principles of the people engagement in simple terms. Let me share my observations of the game dynamics of social games like Farmville and Angry birds. In some of these observations, I will also illustrate the examples from these game.

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September 25, 2012

Gamification - an opportunity to explore the untapped power of the people engagement

When you hear "Gamification", what do you imagine? A new promise, lot of possibilities, lot of excitement and definitely truckload of overwhelming explanations. My introduction to gamification accidently happened long time back. Who knew that someday in year 2012 when I will Google this term, it will bring as many as 10,700,000 search results in a flick of a second. And frankly, my unintended discovery was fairly informal, unbranded and  unscientific when I started on it. But as I got deeper into it, story took a very different turn.

I was working on the people engagement challenges for my innovation center in 2008. There, my struggle was with the average enthusiasm and typical motivation issues for the talent. I was locked up with the challenge of sustaining their engagement towards innovation objectives. Most engagement tactics were short-lived, good for one-time engagement spike but did not deliver good results for building and sustaining the continuous engagement. I was looking for something new, something beyond regular engagement practices like events, appreciations, corporate awards etc.

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August 31, 2012

Gamification and Intellectual Capital

In any knowledge enterprise, intellectual capital can be measured through Products, Patents, IPs, Papers, etc. and employee capital is usually measured through number of employees, their years of experience, educational qualification, achievements, etc.
What about employee achievements?

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August 28, 2012

"Gamifying" Software Engineering and Maintenance

Success of software development and maintenance life cycle activities are governed by several individual behavioral aspects like timeliness, ideation, participation, team work, enthusiasm, voluntary culture, co-creation, quality control, and more.
Apart from dealing with the complexity of software, managing behavioral and motivational levels of the team and getting tricky things done can sometime become a challenge.

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August 23, 2012

Gamification Techniques!!

Hey Suds, I was pondering over our discussion the other day, and got a few more queries, would you mind discussing those.

Wonderful, go ahead my friend.

Sandeep: if I have to consider "Gamifying" a particular site or business process, how should I go about?

Suds:  At a very high level, you can look at adopting following steps,

·         Define your problem

·         Establish KPIs/metrics

·         Understand you user segment, and their respective drivers/motivations or lack of it

·         Do the necessary mapping of KPIs VS Motivational style.

·         Establish the right Gamification technique - rewards based, game based

·         Finally measure progress made on established KPIs, and feed it back in the loop

 

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August 17, 2012

Demystifying Gamification

Sandeep: Suds, what are you up to these days?

Suds: Gamification!!

 

Sandeep: ohh, Olympic mania, I understand.

Suds: Sandeep, my friend, am saying Gamification and not Games.

 

Sandeep: is it, i hear this term first time, what is it btw?

Suds: The use of gameplay mechanics for non-game applications is Gamification.

First, let me give you the oxford dictionary take of this,

"It is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, and rules of play) to other areas of activity to encourage engagement with a product or service" [1]

As you may know, this concept is long existent and tried and tested in some segments like,

·         Airline Frequent Flyer, Credit card spends, Superstore chain purchase cards

·         Co-creation mediums such as Knowledge Exchange Forums (stack overflow, MSDN)

·         Nike+ website for defining and tracking runner programs

Unique things that exists across these examples is, it tries to retain and build its user/customer base through various motivation techniques such as

·         Building loyal customers by encouraging more transactions through reward process in the case of airlines

·         Building collective intelligence  by encouraging contributors alongside establishing experts

·         By helping you measure and track your running schedules and ran miles and then share those achievements with your network

Leveraging this time tested and proven techniques along with selectively bringing in fun element of games and applying it in the context of Enterprise is Gamification.

You can practice Gamification through,

1.       Designing and applying reward programs around a specific program/initiative

2.       By designing not so exciting (boring/mundane) applications in a Game play manner e.g. learning while playing games, etc.

3.       Or by combining the above two

 

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