Change Management in the Process and Content Arenas: Let the Games Begin

By Steve Weissman posted 02-22-2012 13:05


A funny thing happened on the way to process improvement: what began as an exercise in efficiency enhancement turned into a game theory application!

It's a long time since I began equating change management to parenting, and boiled the challenge down to “getting people to do things they would really prefer not to do” – clean their rooms, eat their vegetables, tag their documents, save to a repository, etc. Well, the trend over the past year seems to have been to give information management professionals permission to adopt this mindset by taking it to the next level and giving it a name.

The idea, of course, is to encourage people to accept and adopt new ways to do their jobs by making it interesting and engaging to do so – or in other words, by making it more fun, just as we do with children. So while this is not a new concept, it has gained such traction that the term "gamification" has now entered the information management vernacular, and has been the subject of articles and speeches by everyone from CIO magazine to former Vice President Al Gore.

Those of us with a history in the process and content arenas are well familiar with the need to reward users who are “doing the right things.” If there is a new wrinkle here, it's that it has become OK – nay, an emergent best practice – to blatantly pattern our incentive programs after the games and social communications that occupy so much of our collective attention, especially on our smartphones and tablets.

Once, we were pleased when the progress bar on our original LinkedIn page showed that our profile was 100% complete. Now, we thrill when we earned mayor status on Foursquare or our Klout score goes up. And pretty soon, we may find our employment performance reviews tied to our ability to consistently appear on new leaderboards that track our usage of the latest information management systems.

The mindset is the same, but its application is growing more sophisticated by the day, and I have but one question for you: are you ready to Cut the Rope, or is your organization full of Angry Birds? If you want to play to win, then you'll want to start thinking about this right now.

#gamification #BusinessProcessManagement #processimprovement