They say that business has to be taken very seriously. However, playing a little can be highly positive: the gamification technique is increasingly accepted as a viable alternative for companies that want to improve engagement with their clients and partners, generate an impact, and even increase their profitability.
Gamification proposes mechanics, elements, and principles as motivational techniques based on the typical recreational structure of games, not only digital games but also board games or games played outdoors. The purpose is to transfer these techniques to non-game environments or contexts. For instance, to educational institutions, where they can be applied to improve student attendance or learning performance. Also to companies, to stimulate client interaction with the organization, thus strengthening the link between the two parties, or with a set of activities to help employees express their potential productivity. Gamification can also be applied to the public sector, as a challenge to taxpayers to pay their taxes when they are due. We have mentioned only a few of the many possibilities that exist.
But what are we talking about exactly? We are talking about giving serious consideration to the concept of fun… what is “to have fun”? “To have fun” involves the concepts of learning, socialization, and expression, the three main axes for human beings. They stay with us and stimulate us, away from old beliefs, throughout our lives, and not just during our childhood. Understanding these axes, within a game-like structure –taken as a motivational mechanism made up of incentives and rewards– is the very backbone of gamified processes.
Bringing games to the company
Can the concept of gamification be transferred to companies? It is not only feasible, it is even necessary. Times have changed. Today, thanks to social networks and the considerable growth of e-commerce, the smallest stores located in the middle of nowhere have a level of exposure and visibility that can be as high as that of a big retailer. Product and service consumption has changed: people are no longer passive actors. They are better informed, they are more demanding. They are two taps away from posting a criticism or a complaint on social networks, and they expect a customized and personalized experience. If they do not get it, they are also two taps away from finding it elsewhere.
This involves an unprecedented challenge: how do we keep captivating clients so they continue to choose us, in such a dynamic context, with so many options. It is in this context that Gamification presents its processes as a very strong alternative, as a gateway to the new world. A world where originality and games allow companies to retain loyal clients, position themselves in a different way, and even generate an emotional connection with consumers.
Feedback is one of the most important elements of gamification, and it’s a two-way street: For users, it can provide constant information about their performance on the spot. For companies or organizations, it provides statistics about the users, metrics, and high levels of participation and feedback, in a very short time span. Also, organizations can accelerate the decision-making process and gain predictability – two fundamental elements in these frenzied, changing times. Differentiation, client retention, and positioning are concepts that go hand in hand with any successful gamification process.
It is also important to understand that Gamification isn’t about microlearning modules, nor supercharging an employee’s performance. It also has an effect on corporate culture, workplace design, and more.
An example of the successful implementation of gamification was a project undertaken jointly by the automobile company Volkswagen –as part of its The Fun Theory strategy, which postulates that people can only act responsibly if they have fun– and by the city of Stockholm: a contest was organized, but only the drivers who had respected speed limits in the city could participate. The prize was financed with the fines paid by those who had exceeded the speed limit! The figures speak for themselves: around that time, the average speed reduction in the Swedish capital was 22%.
This case is only a sample of what can be achieved, i.e., learning to adapt the way organizations work by captivating clients, which is increasingly essential and indispensable. Our way of thinking must change, we must be open to new methodologies and processes because if we fail to adapt our businesses to the ever-changing technological and social paradigms, we run the risk of being left behind.
If you found this article interesting, stay tuned for part two coming next week!