Blog post of the month?

Gamification seems like nothing new.

It’s surely a clever new word for achieving desired human behavior that’s as old as the hills.

Take ‘Employee of the month’ – this, in gamification terms, is being top of the leaderboard for that month. Imagine playing a video game and getting the highest score. If you get the highest score that month then you’ll be top.

But there is a subtle and subversive difference to a gamified ’employee of the month’ badge versus the familiar accolade provided by many workplaces:

  1. Spread – Social Networks mean that news of the badge can be quickly and easily shared with our personal networks of friends, family – making workplace awards ‘worth’ more.
  2. Transparency – How the badge is achieved is necessarily more transparent – instead of being chosen in a darkened room the employee of the month badge becomes something that you can earn based on predefined rules
  3. Progress – it is possible for individual employees to track their progress at a granular level – extra points from that positive customer feedback report – and so calibrate their effort to reach the goal
  4. Visibility – employees can track their position, and co-worker position, in a leaderboard hierarchy.
  5. Accountability – the flip side of visibility – co-workers can see whether each is pulling their own weight
So, gamification offers the potential not just to improve working systems, but the nature of work itself.  In some senses, gamification brings to knowledge workers (those of us tied to our PC day after day) much of the same features that workers in more traditional enterprises, agricultural and crafts, have always had.  For instance, a team of decorators can see quite clearly who is working hard, and who is not, simply by looking at the amount of surface covered with paint.
This is more difficult for a team of account managers in a media agency who might struggle to see what each other is up to. Gamification tools, like MinuteNow.com which tracks meeting minutes actions and rewards their completion, bring the potential to make knowledge work more transparent, accountable and co-worker progress more visible.

Toby Beresford

Toby is CEO of the scoreboard platform to track, compare and share scores Rise. He was the 2013 founding chair of Gamfed.com - the International Gamification Confederation and organises the UK Gamifiers meetup. As a gamification thought leader, he speaks at conferences and hosts workshops. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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