Gamification and Strategy – Don’t Just Play, Win!

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furstperson-largex3-logo-200pxThere’s no question that gamification – using “serious games” for things like on-the-job training or hiring – has been a rising trend that’s taken off in the past few years. With more than 350 companies launching large-scale gamification initiatives since 2010, it seems like almost every organization is looking to find ways to create more engaging and progressive learning experiences.

Despite its growing usage, gamification isn’t a wand you can wave at a certain section of your organization and expect immediate transformation in productivity and skills. In fact, Gartner recently predicted that 80% of gamification initiatives would result in failure. The reasoning is strategy.

Implementing a gamification solution to an organization without having a strategy is like trying to paint without a brush. Here are some killer strategies to get a gamification effort not only off the ground, but make them effective:

Consider Your End-Game

The goal of any video game is to win – whether you’re eating as many dots in Pac Man as possible or coming out on top of your Call of Duty online matches, the end game is always success. With gamification, however, winning may take on an entirely different definition – winning may be creating behavioral change, imparting a set of skills or knowledge, or identifying the best new hires. When it comes to gamification strategy, start by considering what results you want and build around that.

Don’t Settle for Out-of-the-Box

You’re spending this time and effort creating a plan for something you hope will bring positive change to your company, so don’t cut corners with an out-of-the-box solution. Every business, including yours, is unique, so evaluate customizable options that will target your specific goals, not just a general goals landscape.

Gamification Doesn’t Equate to Great Gameplay

At the end of the day, gamification is a good strategy for business outcomes. It is not being implemented for personal entertainment; it’s a tool that can be used to achieve organizational goals. Don’t worry if your concept isn’t on par with the latest high profile console games – it’s not supposed to be. If you find yourself looking to sacrifice educational or business value for cheap thrills, take a step back and remember your business goals to help keep the project’s integrity intact.

Keep it Real

Say you’re considering gamification to become a part of your talent acquisition process. You want to create something that’s engaging to your applicants, informative to prospects, and can be used on the back end to help your recruiters build cases for hiring decisions. What you don’t want is to mislead your prospects with a game that doesn’t offer much about the job itself. Similar to the previous point, make sure that your game is designed to be honest. Don’t mislead for the sake of trying to make the design more exciting. Be honest with your goals, and create engagement around that, not the other way around.

Gamification is a cutting edge, interesting way to drive business goals. By creating an engaging and informative experience, gamification has a lot to offer almost any business. The key is to use gamification properly, and that all begins with the strategy around how you plan to use it.

About the author: Daniel James has worked as a content writer and journalist, writing for universities, software companies, and newspapers. He currently works at FurstPerson in Chicago, IL, as the Content Writer and Editor, managing FurstPerson’s blog and writing content including ebooks, white papers, case studies, and more.