May 30, 2013

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Gamification: Engaging People Effectively in a Corporate Set up

To play games is an inherent nature of human beings. The inquisitiveness we possess enables us to explore and master challenges stretching our mental and physical abilities. Playing virtual games is no different. The “Nine Rasas” as mentioned in Hindu philosophy, which are the essence of emotion, get triggered when we play games. It is a proven fact that the best games are the ones which are successful in inducing different kinds of emotions. With the plethora of network technology currently available and the emerging ‘Human Computer Interaction’ paradigms, there is an immense possibility of Gamification which basically uses game mechanics in non-game consumer applications or productive software to make them more engaging and fun to use

The fantastic idea that even games can be used as a tool to learn and engage people in the corporate set up intrigued me immensely. In one of my previous organizations, I learnt the nuances of making leadership decisions in different scenarios by playing an online game. This made me realize that gaming has huge possibilities beyond just fun and entertainment. Later, this particular experience helped me to design and develop a serious game where I got a first-hand opportunity to experience Gamification in the real world scenario. The game is currently being used by the human resource department of the organization during the induction of new recruits.

There are basically three steps through which a person gets involved in any interactive system – introduction, engagement & loyalty. In online games, these three phases are characterized by -  rewarding gamers on a regular basis; providing ladders for keeping them engaged through increased level of difficulty; creating loyalty through an active community which creates the buzz around the game. Similar tactics can be easily utilized in productive software applications used by support functions such as IT, HR, admin, sales, ticketing etc. and used extensively in companies where there are multiple interactions during the support process. There is a distinct middle layer of user experience which can act as a bridge between the application and the actual users for Gamifying the complex processes. For instance, every IT support team is bound by strict SLAs to sort out issues raised by employees. With the use of gamification techniques, the IT team can be motivated and persuaded to act fast by engaging them in a manner where they earn reward points which can be redeemed in cash or kind. This will not only give them the joy of flaunting their top player status on leader boards, but also help the organization to easily identify the best troubleshooters in time of need.

According to a Gartner report, by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify them and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application. Gamification is already being utilized by some of the big MNCs which use games for simulating various business scenarios; for generating ideas to convert business processes into games; to train its leaders through immersive games and so on and so forth. These are just few examples cited to prove how organizations are evolving themselves to keep up with time in order to match themselves with the omnipresent Generation Y. There is a growing need for Gamification as a motivational tool which in the process ensures greater engagement between the employee and the organization.

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Reference

Gartner Gamification Report 2011 - http://www.gamification.org/wiki/Gartner_Gamification_Report_2011