Friday, August 14, 2015

How Will Gamification Help Achieve Your objectives?

"Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun." - Mikhail Baryshnikov

Haven’t you found that the really great things in life take a lot of hard work? To understand the complicated beautiful things in science, economics, and even music -- you have to get past the incredibly dull and mind-numbing fundamentals. The same is true in gamification design.

Making business processes more compelling by making them FUN is what I do – and that FUN always starts with four questions:

1. Why are you gamifying this project? When looking to gamify any aspect of your business we must first ask if gamification is a good idea and what exactly do you want to achieve from gamifying this process or this project.

2. What are your objectives? For example you may have objectives to:
  • Change a current business process
  • Train your salespeople to handle typical objections from customers
  • Eliminate knowledge silos
  • On-boarding new employees
  • Upgrade technology in your organization and you want to get employees up to speed on these new processes as quickly as possible
  • Turn dry and boring lecture type internal training and development into something that is interactive high paced hands on engaging and motivating for your employees
Repeatedly in gamification design, we have found that your objectives need to meet certain criteria if they are to be useful:
  • Quantifiable - your objectives should be measurable, e.g. to increase market share to 55%, to increase customer satisfaction levels to 95% etc.
  • Challenging – they shouldn't be too easy to achieve.
  • Attainable - they shouldn't be unrealistic.
  • Understandable - so that they are easy to communicate.
3. What are your target behaviors? Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to figure out what specific actions will be required to realize it. What do you want your employees to do that they are not doing now? What new behavior patterns would they need to adopt in order to sustain your business model? Think in verbs, not nouns. What do you need people to do? 

You should rank these actions from most critical to least critical and also score them from most likely to happen to least likely to happen because that will help you to focus your game mechanics. 

4. How will gamification help you achieve your objectives? Because you have identified the key actions or behaviors you want to see from your users, you can now begin to match your mechanics and motivators so that you can find a way to encourage that particular set of behaviors. If you really aren’t sure, start with just one action. It’s not a bad idea to take baby steps as you see how your users respond and whether or not you’re providing the right experience to promote the key behaviors. That way you can improve on your results with one or just a few user engagement goals instead of trying to implement a huge game layer with tons of complexity.

You may want to skip over the fundamentals of design for a variety of reasons… impatience, deadlines, or perhaps a hubris that tempts you to think, “It’s gamification, how hard can this be?” But  start with the fundamentals so that you build your gamification strategy on a solid foundation.

For more ideas on gamification design, get started with the Gamification Design and Implementation Program.

About the Author: Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.

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