Collaboration through Gamification

By Christian Buckley posted 11-02-2012 19:02


In a presentation to the Finland SharePoint User Group, Jussi Mori (@JussiMori) of Peaches Industries outlined some of the issues surrounding end user adoption and productivity on any collaborative environment, and introduced some of the concepts around gamification as a path to improving both. Gamification is a small but rapidly growing facet of the social collaboration category, yet according to a recent article in Website Magazine (Game Play: Where Science and Branding Merge), most companies are still tentative about building out intranet and internet capabilities as they don't yet see it as a proven solution. Even with $100 million spent on gamification solutions in 2010, the category is projected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2016.


"According to the research of gamification pioneer Jane Mc- Gonigal, the reason humans collectively spend 3 billion hours a week playing games is tied to the psychological effects delivered by game mechanics. The neurological flow of dopamine, triggered by these underlying mechanics, plays a powerful role in creating positive emotion. And when game mechanics are applied to marketing problems, the response is the same. No wonder gamification can elicit such extraordinary behaviors. Turns out, regardless of the context, we’re hardwired to play."


In the offline world, the concept of gamification has been a key component to many advertising strategies and affiliate marketing programs. For example, children's cereal has used games for brand development and to link sales to complementary products, helping with both marketing research efforts and also to improve success of new product introductions. Large corporations have employed similar tactics to help drive employee participation in self-driven training, and general awareness of new initiatives and programs, and for recognizing those who participate.


Gamification leverages our natural desire to come together for a common cause. It is goal-oriented, it generally incites a stronger emotional investment in the activity, and ties the gaming activities more closely to a brand. Within a corporate environment, gamification can help shape preferred behavior by rewarding individuals through recognition, or even financially, for following the right steps, completing activities on time or with few or no errors, or for helping others.


We view our belongings as extensions of our identities, with many people developing online avatars and social profiles as they would their resume and CV. Understanding this, its no mystery as to how these tools work, or why they are increasing in popularity. What many of the leading gamification vendors have learned is that the ownership dynamic is critical: one of the most effective methods of fostering participation is through personalization. According to Website Magazine, "Based on time-tested scientific principles of engagement, gamification connects with audiences at the deepest psychological and neurological levels, like all great marketing." 

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