The long game: Why gamification is now a strategic management tool for business

rock paper scissors game

Until this week, I’ve been a total gamification cynic.

My early memories of ‘gaming’ are the nightmares my brother had after playing Trolls on our family Commodore 64.

So, why would we want to use gaming at work? Why would we want to encourage employees to start gaming? Surely, gamification is just a fad, a ‘nice extra’ piece of fun we can offer staff for participation? But ultimately, something with not much more than novelty value?

I was wrong. Two things happened this week that have changed my mind. Firstly my team launched its own enterprise game (more on this in a later blog); secondly, I heard gamification expert Marigo Raftopoulous speak at Amplify Festival in Sydney.

Marigo’s fascinating session has persuaded me that gamification is here to stay and for Internal Comms pros, it’s going to be an incredible tool for staff engagement.

Here’s some of the top reasons Marigo advocates gaming in business and why gaming is here to stay:

  1. Gaming is now a strategic management tool – it’s not just for marketers
  2. Current business models are over – employees are bored, disengaged, uninspired
  3. Games reflect how humans like to interact. We naturally like to play. Check out this fantastic example from Stockholm where they trialled ‘gaming’ traffic speed cameras into a lottery: those that sped paid a fine, those that complied got the chance to win the money from the fines.
  4. Fun changes human behaviour positively. Interactive play increases alertness, learning and long-term memory.
  5. The potential for employee-led innovation and crowd-sourced solutions can be realised: In 2011, 240,000 players of the University of Washington’s ‘Fold-it’ took just ten days to help decipher the structure of an enzyme that had stumped scientists for 15 years. [Read more here]. Think what potential this has for employee-led innovation in business.
  6. Deeper customer experiences: Jay-Z used gaming to launch his memoirs Decoded. Since fans were already likely to buy the book, the real draw of the campaign was to deepen the engagement in the content and therefore Jay-Z’s connections with all of these fans.

At the end of the session I asked Marigo about her thoughts on the future of gaming. She predicted that gaming was here to stay – with Chief Engagement Officers managing a diverse team including a game designer and a game strategist, both of whom could partner with teams across the business to build gaming into business strategy.

I can’t wait to find out more about gamification and start to introduce some more games into my internal comms work to improve employee engagement.

More on gaming:

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2 Responses to The long game: Why gamification is now a strategic management tool for business

  1. Great to hear you’ve converted from cynic to evangelist. One of the great things about enterprise gamification is that the results do speak for themselves. One sales team that recently trialled leaderboarded made 40 new LInkedIn connections each in a month – that was 4000 new linkedin releationships that drove new business.

    • anna lowman says:

      That’s great to hear – you’re right, the theory is all good but it’s seeing the results in practice which is most important. Thanks for your comment Toby.

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