Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Gamification in the enterprise updates, September edition

Things have been a little busy here at GamifyOracle.  Last week, I attended a small conference in San Diego on Enterprise Gamification.  Mario Herger of SAP, Matt Landes of Google and I were on a panel discussion about how to introduce and advocate gamification in your organization.  I gave a talk as well as a workshop on gamification.  The workshop was a new concept, to take our Design Jam from Applications User Experience and try it with people outside of user experience.  I have to say, the whole thing was a great success, in great part because I had some expert help from Teena Singh from Apps UX.  We took a flow from expense reporting and created a scenario about sales reps who are on the road a lot and how we needed them to get their expense reports filed by the end of the fiscal year.  We divided the attendees into groups and gave them a little over two hours to work out how they might use game mechanics to gamify the flows.  

We even took the opportunity to re-use the app our fab dev team in our Mexico Development Center put together to gamify the event including badges, points, prizes and a leaderboard. 

Since I am a firm believer that you can't gamify everything (or at least, not everything well), I focused my talk prior to the workshop on when it works, and when it might not, including pitfalls to gamifying badly.  I was impressed that the teams all considered what might go wrong with gamifying expenses and built into their designs some protections against that.  I can't wait to take this concept on the road again, it really was a fun day.

Now that we have gotten through that set of events, we're wildly working on our next project for next week.  I'm doing a focus group at Oracle OpenWorld on Gamification in the Enterprise.  To do that, Andrea Cantu and I are trying to kill as many trees as possible while we work out some gamification concepts to present (see proof below!).  It should be a great event and I'm hoping we learn a lot about what our customers think about the use of gamification in their companies and in the products they use.

So that's the news so far from GamifyOracle land.  I'll try to get more out about those events and more after next week. And if you will be at OOW, ping me and we can discuss in person!  I'd love to know what everyone is thinking in the area.

Friday Sep 07, 2012


Picking up where we left off, let's summarize.  People have both intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, and whether reward works depends a bit on what you are rewarding.  Rewards don't decreased intrinsic motivation provided you know what you are getting and why, and when you reward high performance.  But as anyone who has watched the great animation of Dan Pink's TED talk knows, even that doesn't tell the whole story.  Although people may not be less intrinsically motivated by rewards, the impact of rewards on actual performance is a really odd questions.  Larger rewards don't necessarily lead to better performance and in fact, some times lead to worse performance.  Pink argues that people are driven and engaged when they have autonomy, mastery and purpose.  If they can self-direct and can be good at what they do and have a sense of purpose for what they are doing, they show the highest engagement.   (Personally, I would add progress to the list.  My experience is that if you have autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose but don't get a feeling that you are making any progress day to day, your level of engagement will drop rapidly.)

So Pink is arguing if we could set up work so that people have a sense of purpose in what they do, have some autonomy and the ability to build mastery, you'll have better companies.  And that's probably true in a lot of ways, but there's a problem.  Sometimes, you have things you need to do but maybe you don't really want to do.  Or that you don't really see the point of.  Or that doesn't have a lot of value to you at the end of the day.  Then what does a company do?

 Let me give you an example.  I've worked on some customer relationship management (CRM) tools over the years and done user research with sales people to try and understand their world.  And there's a funny thing about sales tools in CRM.  Sometimes what the company wants a sales person to do is at odds with what a sales person thinks is useful to them.  For example, companies would like to know who a sales person talked to at the company and the person level.  They'd like to know what they talked about, when, and whether the deals closed.  Those metrics would help you build a better sales force and understand what works and what does not.  But sales people see that as busy work that doesn't add any value to their ability to sell.  So you have a sales person who has a lot of autonomy, they like to do things that improve their ability to sell and they usually feel a sense of purpose--the group is trying to make a quota!  That quota will help the company succeed!  But then you have tasks that they don't think fit into that equation.  The company would like to know more about what makes them successful and get metrics on what they do and frankly, have a record of what they do in case they leave, but the sales person thinks it's a waste of time to put all that information into a sales application.

They have drive, just not for all the things the company would like.  

You could punish them for not entering the information, or you could try to reward them for doing it, but you still have an imperfect model of engagement.  Ideally, you'd like them to want to do it.  If they want to do it, if they are motivated to do it, then the company wins.  If *something* about it is rewarding to them, then they are more engaged and more likely to do it.  So the question becomes, how do you create that interest to do something?


All things gamification, mostly focused on the Enterprise space but occasionally on other issues related to gamification. Thoughts are my own.


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