Every game has a defined way to win. The real question is how many players play a game for the sole purpose of winning. According to Professor Richard Bartle from the University of Essex, the primary type of players (80%) are “Socializers” who join a game purely to interact with other players and enjoy the social aspect. The same holds true for enterprise gamification techniques.
This theory takes out the traditional Points, Badges and Leaderboards (PBL) based gamification out of the equation and places a bigger value on the Social Elements in a game.
Socio Gamification – Definition
Socio Gamification can be defined as the use of social elements (likes, sharing, comments etc.) along with a meaningful community-driven approach for the players within a gamified environment. The emphasis is more on building relationships with other players than playing the game itself.
Designing the community – Defining friends
As Gartner predicts 80% of the initial gamification systems will fail primarily due to poor design. Hence it’s important to understand how to use game mechanics and game dynamics properly. It’s also important to design the player journey from onboarding to mastery stage along with the community journey.
When a player initially comes into the system, he needs some level of confidence on where he stands and how his “friends” are doing. The key factor here is the definition of “friends”. Based on different contexts “lists of friends” can change. If the competition happens within the team, then your project members become friends, but if the competition is about your core functional work (Like sales, marketing) then your friends would be those who are at your own level/designation. Most importantly every single player in a game should be meaningful to one another.
Leaderboard to show where you are – as opposed to the top 3
The traditional leaderboards shows the top 5 to 10 people in the game who have millions of points and dozens of badges. While at first that is motivating to the other players, as the game progresses it becomes impossible to take over the leaders. This can create active disengagement to those who join later or to an average player who doesn’t score as much as the top 2 – 3 % performers in the organization. Even though we get the community right, still we don’t have the right design.
One way to tackle this problem is to show where the person stands with 3-5 people above them and 3-5 people below them. This gives them a short term target of how to beat the next 3-5 players as opposed to gain a million points and be on top. The second approach is to create a much narrowed down community which suits his/her position. For an example showing a leaderboard with, “Those who joined the company in the same week you joined” or “Those who have the same designation as you” will create a narrowed scope to the competition This will not only allow the players to earn more achievements but also augment deeper engagement and build long term relationship.
Use the game mechanics with Social mechanics
We don’t keep our trophies in the drawers. Likewise Points, Badges, Status and Virtual Goods are there to be displayed. But to whom. Typically an achievement feels better when your friends or colleagues who appreciate it. One way to achieve this is by sending out an automatic notification to the list of friends about the player’s achievement. As an extension, the system could also provide a message box, so that the friend can send back a congratulations note. The second way is to allow the achiever to share his/her achievement. However the general options such as “Likes”, “Comments” are inevitable in a system like this. When you design a gamified system it’s important to use social mechanics to enable interaction. The power of any gamified system depends on how much motivation the player has after he has achieved something. Provided that 80% of the players are socializers, having placed social mechanics can trigger an intrinsic motivation amongst all the participants. By deploying a coordinated application a company can motivate behaviors and drive outcomes for both customer and the organization.
Joining the dots
In a typical enterprise environment, it’s not that easy to target the game with the most suitable community, but the important aspect is to build the social culture in the game. When players are interacting they tend to bring more value to the table, where more innovations and better ideas will follow. It will help the average people to create role models and follow their behavior while seeking their help to develop skills. This in turn will create a positive connect between all the players. If the system provides benefits (recognition, power, access, virtual goods) to the top achievers it will also encourage them to help out those who want to climb the ladder fast. Overall the skills of the players will also improve over the time. From the corporate leadership point, such a scenario will improve the entire organizational performance and the skills set of its employees by contributing to the organization’s goals.
Gamification will not give you the ultimate solution, but how you design it, will. Therefore, a gamification strategy designed based on three levels: personal, organizational and societal in an enterprise can drive more value.