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Five reasons to apply gamification to your business processes

‘Gamification you say, son? We’re in serious business, our stakeholders are not interested in playing games’. Where did we hear this before? Oh yeah, back in the early nineties, when something called internet came into view. Sell stuff via a computer. Nah, that’ll never work. For the laggards, true. For the early adopters, as we all know by now, very not-true.

Is gamification a game changer (;-)), just like the internet? No, not AS the internet. But still a game changer. Just look at the signs. As researched by Gartner, turnover from gamification will grow by over 1000% in less than 2 years time. 70% of all large companies will apply gamification to at least one process this year.

So if you still think that your stakeholders don’t like games, just sit and wait. Really, don’t bother to read any further. Just look back in a year or 2. If you’re interested in learning why and how to add gaming techniques to your business, here’s five reasons why you should apply gamification to your business processes.

#1 Gamification motivates

As expressed by the 34th American president Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”

In a recent article on the psychology of motivationMichael Wu digs into drivers that motivate people, from the good old Maslow to more recent Daniel Pink. In his article Michael Wu summarizes that, as revealed by Maslow and Pink ‘innate needs are what motivate people’. Maslow’s need theory is basically the carrot and the stick theory of motivation.

Also, Wu mentions that B. F. Skinner on the other hand believes that ‘under a proper reinforcement schedule, we can ignore people’s innate needs and just give them points instead, and people will learn and be motivated simply by accumulating points.’

#2 Gamification can get you into a state of flow

‘Blindly giving people points (or whatever they need) is not going to work over the long term, because people get tired and bored rather quickly. Successful gamification need to adapt with people’s skill and find that fine line between certainty and uncertainty (i.e. Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow), a state of optimal intrinsic motivation.’


People experiencing flow often forget about physical feelings, passage of time, and their ego fades away. A good read on flow is this article.

#3 Gamification engages

At the 2013 IBM Connect event gamer and speaker Jane McGonigal, author of “Reality is Broken” shared some interesting facts and figures to point out the opportunities of gamification in relation to engagement:

  • There are 1 billion people worldwide who spend at least 1 hour a day playing digital games.
  • 71% of workers in the US are NOT engaged at the office, according to Gallup 2012. This costs companies $300 Billion a year in lost productivity.
  • Children who play video games tested up to 30% higher on creativity scales.
  • Gamers spend up to 80% of their time failing, far more than in real life (we tend to learn more from our failures than our successes).

#4 Gamification helps us to acquire new skills

Studies show that interactive game play showed increased use of the hippocampus region of the brain in MRI scans, which is the center for learning new skills.

In his book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (New York:
Palgrave/Macmillan,2003), James Paul Gee argues that schools, workplaces, families, and academic researchers have a lot to learn about learning from good computer and video games. Such games incorporate a whole set of fundamentally sound learning principles, principles that can be used in other settings, for example in teaching science in schools. In fact, the learning principles that good games incorporate are all strongly supported by contemporary research in cognitive scienceóthe science that studies human thinking and learning through laboratory research, studies of the brain, and research at actual learning sites like classrooms and workplaces.

#5 Gamification allows us to solve problems

Studies show that interactive game play showed increased use of the hippocampus region of the brain in MRI scans, which is the center for learning new skills. Gaming creates 10 positive emotions that lead directly to how we improve problem solving:

  1. Creativity
  2. Contentment
  3. Awe and Wonder
  4. Excitement
  5. Curiosity
  6. Pride
  7. Surprise
  8. Love
  9. Relief
  10. Joy

Gamification in channel marketing

Earlier this year, at our business, we introduced partner achievements, a way for our partners to check how they are performing and compare their performance with other partners. This works really well, because a partner can easily see how to improve his ranking. Achievements e.g. are number of customer accounts, number of comments on the site and forum posts, as well as participations in seminars and trade shows.

At the annual Copernica Summit, then, we award the best performing partner with a Partner of the Year award.

What is your opinion about business gamification?

What process have you gamified or are you planning to gamify?