For those of who know me, they know I have the travel bug. I travel regularly for work and for pleasure. In 2018 I visited 12 different countries, 7 for the first time. New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Hong Kong (China), India, Poland, Argentina and Chile to be exact. Let me tell you what contribution business Gamification made to this journey.
It was an amazing experience to see these places. Rich cultures, amazing stories, great conversations and food. Along the way though, I noticed something strange about me.
I had never imagined being so easily hooked by something so simple. But, it drew me in and made me act.
This thing really got me thinking about my life and work.
What is it that trapped me so easily???
An airline frequent flyer programme, to be precise. I originally collected some miles on AeroMexico. But, because I was travelling more to the UK, I opted for the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) in the OneWorld Alliance. I quickly got to Bronze, then Silver, then retained Silver again. Now I am close to Gold level.
The BAEC App on my phone is very simple. It shows a plane flying round a circle to the next target. I find myself opening the app before and after each flight. As it edges towards the goal I get a little more excited. My motivation grows. The rewards of status are tangible. Business class lounges, bonus miles and priority seats.
However, what struck me more than anything was the App. How could a simple image of a plane flying round a circle be so motivating? How could something so basic evoke such a strong motivation?
What is Gamification?
Generally, gamification refers to various areas such as simulations, games and awarding (badging). It taps into human’s natural tendency to learn and master tasks. In short, it connects into our competitive nature.
This simple circle from BAEC is just one form of gamification. The idea is you win the game when you complete the full circle. You then get your card (like a badge of honour). You receive custom name tags and this can bring prestige. You can start to feel like you are in an exclusive club of winners.
People, myself included, often become willing to do whatever it takes to win the game. The feeling can become very intense indeed.
Using Gamification in Business
Gamification in business is applying the mentality of game design to something that is not usually a game. It can be used in business to motivate customers and staff. It can also be employed in corporate training to stimulate learning. Managers can use it to get their sales people firing.
Some of the most common gamification techniques applied in businesses include badging, visualization, achievement tracking and competitions. These can be used for a whole variety of purposes.
Badging: This involves awarding badges when progress is made. These can be displayed by the participant to show progress. Uber is a great advocate of badging. Drivers get badges for good reviews, conversation and timeliness, amongst other things.
Visualization: Users are able to track progress. By seeing a graph, chart or progress bar, users can visualize their progress. This can motivate people to go faster. My BAEC App used visualization to motivate me to do more. It worked… (gulp).
Up-levelling: This taps into our competitive side. When users complete something to a certain standard, they move up to the next level. One of the best examples is at the Khan Academy. Another is Google Local Guides, which uses gamification to increase user content contributions.
Competitions: Any kind of activity which involves there being winners or losers. A great example to use in training would the Marshmallow Challenge, a regular in my courses. For customers, how about a competition to get the most ‘likes’ on Facebook? They are commonly used by airlines and publishers in exchange for prizes.
Why Use These in Your Company?
Gamification can be used internally and externally. The important thing to remember is that motivation is the main concept. Gamified tools are used to stimulate and motivate us.
By linking the game closely to the desired outcomes, companies can really promote certain behaviors in their staff and customers. It is important to ensure the gamified tools you use are validated and reliable. This means that they are going to consistently produce the actual behavior desired.
What has been your experience?
Have you used gamification in your company? Do you use services or products that use gamification?
I have used gamification in businesses and universities to promote learning and customer behaviors. It has shown some really interesting and positive results. I would love to discuss it further and hear your experiences in the comments.
Interested to know more about gamification and how it can develop your business?
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