Call of duty: to gamify your Comms

JoystickThere have been a few reports out since the start of the year and all exploring the key trends for 2013… Chatting to my fellow IC crowd founders the other day got me thinking about some of these and I think we need to look a little deeper…

As the rise of social continues (you can see my thoughts that the future is not social here) we are constantly looking at ways to engage people with shiny new tools.

We can invest all the money in the budget on the tool but if you don’t invest in the launch it will never really work. I have this conversation about every initiative the business does, please put budget aside to tell people why you’re doing what you’re doing!

But back to social and a key trend of 2013 which is gamification. In a world of budget cuts and organisational change adding a bit of gaming to a tool should be great right? Almost. Whilst most people play games and with the rise of the smart phone more people are playing games than ever before it doesn’t necessarily mean the principles can be applied across social tools:

Badges for activity

But what activity? You can get a badge for your first comment online, but what if that comment is offensive? Or you get one for adding a profile picture and that too is something inappropriate. Basic gamification like this does not necessarily engage the right behaviours so whilst it is a key trend I do think we need to consider how it is applied.

It’s fun, but will people use it?

As the Olympics came to town we explored an online game to track sales throughout the period. It was a great concept of an avatar athlete that got stronger the more sales he/she made. We could have spent a fair amount on the project but I pulled it before we got it off the ground. Why? Because the business couldn’t forecast the impact of the Olympics and with such an unknown I couldn’t justify the spend nor the time when I had teams that didn’t even know if they would be open!

I’d still like to do something one day but  it needs to be right for the business, support the strategy and enhance the culture. Would love to hear examples where this has landed well that we could all learn from to embrace the trend for 2013.

One thought on “Call of duty: to gamify your Comms

  • Interesting thoughts – I don’t think the concept is entirely new although the term certainly is trending. Gartner predicts that over 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified experience by 2015.

    Gamification has the potential to bring all sorts of seemingly complex operational data together in a unified and more friendly dashboard. Being able to task users and teams directly and assess uptake provides lots of useful insights.

    You mention what tasks should earn badges. The experience can reward what happens already – long service, getting a customer thank-you letter, completing some learning. It’s not about adding complexity, new/novelty value or a wow factor for the sake of it – dreaming up ‘shiny’ random missions so we can use the buzzword. If we take existing tasks and create a framework that acknowledges what’s most (and least) useful and reward correct behaviours and actions or even loyalty and development with points or prizes, then gamification could supplement or even replace tired old reward and recognition or L&D programmes. It then becomes easier to compare individual performances through the scoring mechanism.

    Certainly the badge concept is going to become more embedded – we’re now adding expertise tags to LinkedIn – how much longer before we add badges to represent our skills to LinkedIn and our Cvs – before long some employees will demand a mechanism to earn them.

    Whether employees use gamified tools depends:
    a) how elegantly the solution is implemented into existing systems and activity
    b) if it’s mandated
    c) if there’s enough investment to get past the novelty value and create a system that’s really useful and makes the mundanest of tasks just a little more fun or drives competition. There’s a good if well trodden example of the fun factor at

    For me the best element is that the business has to be clear with itself and employees about exactly what it wants them to do and provide the know-how to do it. In a world where teams are routinely overloaded and then left to decide what actually gets done, the clarity and reality gamefied insights can offer would be useful in reversing that unhelpful trend.

    Badgeville are running Engage 2013 focussing on how gamification supercharges engagement although currently it’s invite only. Sign up and look out for ways to blag tickets…

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