Gamification the name of the game
A new highly engaging generation of software has the power to super-charge any organisation’s worker productivity. John Jones explains the how and the why.
‘Gamification’ might just sound like another one of those hyped-up buzz words bubbling out of wide-eyed techies extolling their magical Gen-Y answers to yet more problems that once didn’t even seem to exist. And, in all honesty, that can be quite a fitting description when the concept’s taken to extremes.
But for business leaders willing to chew the meat and spit out the bones, there are some genuinely revolutionary insights in gamification that have the power to super-charge organisations’ productivity.
The key factors behind this potential are pretty well encapsulated by a few words – such as fun, enjoyable, motivating, visual, intuitive and meaningful. You see, if we look back, for many decades making games and making ‘serious’ software were totally different worlds, but a simple observation had to be made; games are more fun.
In very straight forward terms, people pay to play games but usually have to be paid to use the serious software. So games clearly have something that Microsoft Excel, email programs, and even New Zealand’s beautiful Xero do not. That something is massive engagement, and this kind of engagement is probably the most precious element known to mankind. With it, human beings have conquered mountains, established empires, overcome impossible hardships and created stunning works of art, technology, and construction, which at times, have almost seemed superhuman. On the flip side, without engagement, human beings can easily turn into lifeless sponges that suck the energy out of everything else around them.
So is gamification, especially when related to staff engagement, just another tick-box to add to some utopian wish-list, or does it contain real magic?
Let’s start by uncovering what gamification is, some ways that it can be applied and how it relates to this powerful quality: ‘engagement’.
Wikipedia says that “Gamification commonly employs game design elements which are used in so called non-game contexts in attempts to improve user engagement”.
Although this can include things like scoring, competition and game-like scenarios, some of the more commonly applied elements are to do with visualisation, intuitive touch (or mouse) interaction, simplification of concepts and applying game-like rules to controlling the flow of operations.
As an example, some of the innovative new products we’re building for clients, while still enabling increased efficiency and information access (which software has long been about), are also bringing day-to-day operations into a visual, touch and intuitive experience that workers themselves love.
When truck drivers can see a picture of their truck with