Gamification as a term is more and more often found on the Internet. The growing popularity of this phenomenon appeared relatively recently and is rapidly gaining momentum. In principle, the very concept of “gamification” is considered as a set of techniques for HR managers to increase staff motivation; it is a very simplified presentation and a potential “game” is much more than it can be imagined.
So, what is gamification, what is its essence, what opportunities it opens for building a business?
Gamification is a method of building any non-gaming processes with the help of gaming tools. Everything can be gamified, starting with simple daily tasks and up until creating long-term planning and business development.
The core of a successful game is for the player to understand (instantly, in real time) what happens and to design what will happen in the future; to decide what to do next and to understand what this entails. The player does not have to spend time to understand what is happening now, he must observe and understand it, and predict the strategy for the future. The player must “think in the future.
To gamify the processes in the enterprise, you need to understand not only the principles of process building itself, but also how to build game processes and the scenarios for each of them. The mandatory attributes of the gaming processes are:
Scenario – this is the main line from which the process is built. The scenario assumes that a player will go through certain stages of development within the process, will gain experience, new skills and improve his level by going to the next stage. The next stage is the new scenario.
Rules of the game. The rules are required for the process to have clearly defined frames in which all players have equal opportunities to go through the scenario.
The principle of openness. This principle is based on the fact that all players have a chance to evaluate not only their initial data, but also that of other players, to see own successes relative to others on the way to passing the current stage.
Variability – the player’s possibility to plan which scenario branch to advance.
Competitive spirit– the player’s motivation to become more successful than other players.
Balance. The balance is perhaps one of the main principles of constructing gamified processes; it allows to keep the player in the tone, involve him in the process of passing various stages and keep his interest.
Who are these players?
Every user, who gets into the “game environment”, becomes a player (the game environment means a process that has a game scenario). The players can be both company executives, employees and clients. The player shows both a motivation and his involvement in the workflow as soon as he enters the game. The process of the game itself is much more interesting than the routine performance of tasks. A successful performance of even the smallest task becomes a personal victory for the player and brings him a sense of satisfaction. Let’s look at the advantages and prospects of gamification for all types of players:
To understand what the gamification is and how it can affect the development of a business, the head of the company shall present his business as a game. To date, this is relatively easy, since almost all processes have already been presented in computer games, various simulators and strategies. At the starting point, the business presents a set of defined resources, game rules and possible development scenarios. The scenarios for enterprise management are usually built on the main principles of building scenarios for strategic or economic games, since they have one basis – managing many processes simultaneously. We usually define the following criteria to successfully gamify the enterprise:
Basic business processes
The main goal-setting, as a future development scenario
Critical processes – something that has not been yet considered by the leader
The scenario development based on the initial data begins only once the real state of the enterprise is defined. Any game has its own interface; therefore, if an owner wants to play his own business in a convenient way, he needs an interface which will show him the whole picture in real time thus giving him the possibility not to waste time on cumbersome data collection in a form of reports, but quickly making decisions and “thinking in the future” while formulating the development strategy. Once the enterprise is set in the gaming environment with all the resources, processes and units in real time, the enterprise management becomes more intuitive, and decision making obvious and fast. This approach significantly improves the efficiency of management and leads to the enterprise growth.
Employees of the enterprise are one of the most important players, since the processes governed by their manager depend on their playing role. Scenarios that are created for employees are usually based on the principles of building RPG game scenarios; each employee is a character with his own set of skills, functions, resources, and he is at a specific level about which he is proceeding according to the scenario. Each employee, according to the principle of openness, has access to the leader board, where he sees other players, their levels, skills and functions. He also needs to know the rules of the game to pass the scenario. In carrying out his daily work the employee sees the results of his progress, he can assess how successfully he is approaching the next stage and assess the successes of other players; this we call competitive spirit. Сompetitive spirit as an obligatory attribute of process gaming at the enterprise reveals the motivation of employees in achieving their goals. It is worthwhile to understand that financial motivation for employees is becoming scarce, they are also interested in personal success, recognition of colleagues and personal development. All these aspects of motivation are included in the script initially, in order for the game to be as clear and simple as possible. The next stage, be it a higher position (level up), or move to a completely different position in another department (changing the script branch) is the player’s choice. To get a new position, he must pump his skills, knowledge, level and confirm it with internal tests. Based on the principle of balance, the next stage, as in real life, becomes more difficult, but the benefits of moving to a new stage are bigger. Gamification of processes at the level of employees turns their work into an exciting competitive process, increases their personal competence, motivates employees to stay and develop within the company, associating their personal success with the success of the whole company.
Today, the customers themselves without knowing it are players in a variety of games. Every day there are a lot of websites, mobile applications, game interaction options that are used to keep the client’s attention. The objectives of this retention can be very diverse:
Form a positive image of the company
Make the customer a regular user of a service
Give the client a feeling that he has advantages over other clients, like a premium customer.
Depending on the task at hand, scenarios are developed for customers in which the client receives various bonuses and incentives while performing some small tasks. In order to keep the attention of the client, a game interface with certain rules is developed in which, by the principle of openness, you can also see other customers, compete with them, get their artifacts, or send them to friends. One of the definitions of the game is a collective entertainment requiring direct participation; this definition clearly conveys the essence of how you can easily and unobtrusively attract a very large number of customers with the help of gaming. Client’s achievements within the scenario in turn bring interest in the product or service; this leads to increased brand loyalty and increase in its customer base.
To date, gamification in business is only beginning to gain momentum; many companies have conservative views and therefor look with caution at new approaches. However, if you look back into history, you will notice the same happened with many other technologies at the stage of their origin. The construction of gamification processes in business can be carried out gradually, starting with the simplest ones, which the company will be able to test and understand the effect and feasibility of implementation.
In turn, we offer:
Expert evaluation of company processes
Writing scripts for any roles and types of players
Designing models of gaming processes
Prototyping and the design of the gaming interface
Step-by-step introduction of processes and training with them on the principle of ToT – Training of trainers
Support and adaptation of gamed processes in accordance with the needs of the company.
The emergence of gamification processes in business is absolutely a natural phenomenon, because games have existed since the emergence of human civilization. In human nature, there is a desire for everything interesting and unexplored, the desire to win and succeed, to share our achievements with others. Gamification of processes closes all these needs for all types of players, involving them in exciting game scenarios and interactions. The principles of gaming are designed to make enterprises more successful, and employees and customers happy. As a result, the game becomes an integral part of life, changing from virtual to absolutely real. Gamification changes the philosophy of business, the philosophy of life in general, gamification is the future.