Game Over For Gamification?

It’s no secret that people love the thrill of a contest. Whether it’s scoring double rewards points for purchasing NFL-licensed apparel at Sports Authority, or being entered into a trip sweepstakes for liking the neighborhood grocery store on Facebook, game-based offers are seemingly everywhere consumers click.

“Gamification is really just the tip of iceberg; it’s the first widespread application of game mechanics, but by no means the last or most powerful,” said Michael Hugos, a former CIO and author of Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business (O’Reilly Media, October 2012). “We live in a world where everything changes all the time, and game-like models allow employees to play the game instead of waiting around and being told what to do.”

In a business context, Hugos believes gamification can be used to improve output and productivity with three characteristics: visibility, so that everyone can see what’s going on; the authority to take action, like in a game; and having a substantive stake in the outcome.