Demystifying the gamification idea for the Enterprise 2.0

In a recent article on eWeek Chris Preimesberger features Jive Software as the “leader of the pack” in bringing the “gamification” idea to the intranet. While I was first enthrilled about the headline of the article, I was disappointed at the end. Why? Because the article leaves the reader unclear in which extend the solutions provide “game-type thinking and mechanics to make non-gaming environments — such as enterprise intranets — more interesting”.

Enterprise 2.0 practioneers know that social software already inherits kinds of “gamified” mechanics by default. Relating to another recently published article of Nir Eyal about how to hook users and how to drive them crazy we can say that the key to social software are the social rewards from the “tribe”. The “social reward” grows exponentially with the growth of the network – as the quantity as well as the quality of the reward increases. So where is the magic or the “beef” of the “gamification” talk within the social enterprise?

Pillars for the Desire Engine

Transfering the built-in features of most social technology to the “gamification” idea already provides a very solid foundation:

  • Likes & Comments – represent the low level system of the social reward system
  • Replies – provide a “reward of the self” in terms of “yes – I have been heard”
  • Leader boards & recommendations of articles & documents – represent the high level of system of the social reward and underline the authority and status of the people behind it
  • Topic-person-relations – provide a “reward of the hunt” (see the post of Nir Eval) as it make the search of relevant people and competencies more easy

Therefore for me social technology is by default “gamified”. “Gamification” is an underlying principle of a good “adoption” process. Providing some “merit badges” will even intensify the reward process and might get more people on the social bandwaggon. But adoption 2.0 experts would probably also state that if the E20 initiative is set up at the heart of solving business problems and these additional reward systems are not need because the business problem solving overweights any kind of “virtual” reward.

So I am really looking forward to anybody convincing me on the added values of even extended “gamified” features of social technologies!

  • Walter Adamson

    I agree with the intent of your post, but not in total with its conclusion. Let me state that I think most “gamefication” is just consultant BS and has created its own industry of meaningless self-serving fluff. We can see the gamefication consulting industry becoming bigger than gamefication business benefits – and that’s what really turns me against it as a whole.

    In most so-called gamefication there is little more than we’ve understood for a long long time as “reward and recognition” for employees and others. For most companies, if they can just deliver on basic reward and recognition then they would be well down the road of better employee engagement.

    All that said, I do actually think that certain elements of reward and recognition systems can be extended and, perhaps, made extensible, to extend the concept and practice to a wider range of employee and stakeholder behaviours and goals. In particular around any event or short-term goal or special target in addition to the longer term features that you note are an inherent part of social software.

    So where “gamefication” is extensible, and can be integrated into enterprise applications and business processes I think it has potential value. So this is really the idea of gamefication as a platform. We don’t really know what that can do, since we don’t have it. As opposed to all the fluff and BS about the gamefication that we do have now, which is all fundamentally about turning a pig’s ear into a PhD or speaking circus.

    One example I know of, and it’s not a platform but it is extensible within IBM Connections, is Kudos Badges. The creative uses of its extensibility are what opened my eyes to the potential of gamefication beyond the usual BS.

    I guess there may well be “gamefication as a platform” already, I’m just not informed, but I’d like to hear more if someone knows of it and how it is being used.

    Walter @adamson

    • Bjoern Negelmann Post author

      Thank you, Walter, for your comment. I totally agree on that a “gamified” approach can even leverage the effects of social technology – on top. And “Kudos Badges” are a good “turbo” for this. And I am also questioning everybody else to add more comments on this with beyond going practices.

  • CJ Preimesberger

    Thanks for this mention, but in the eWEEK article I did include specific examples of how gamification is moving into social business networks, such as merit badges, group hugs, etc. You make it sound like there was no description at all.