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Successful Gamification Strategies in Action

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Each week, DailyTekk connects you with leading experts on a given topic as part of our Understanding series. This week we are focusing on explaining Gamification. Yesterday we learned what gamification is and today you’ll learn about successful gamification strategies. Last week we focused on Big Data.

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Gabe Zichermann: “There are a myriad of gamification success stories in the fields of enterprise/HR, loyalty, education, health, social good and consumer technology. Every year at the main industry conference GSummit (April 16-18, 2013 in San Francisco) we’ve had a roster of business leaders and thought leaders tell stories of their success. For example, we’ve heard from FoldIt — a project that uses gamification to help people answer important scientific questions, most recently a key breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Or Salesforce, which has put nearly $100 million behind investments in gamification of the Enterprise. This coming year, we’ll focus on topics as diverse as Loyalty (with companies like Switchfly and LoyaltyLab), Education (with innovators like Coursera and The Gates Foundation), Social Good (Half the Sky), Media (NBC, Fox) and the Enterprise—where companies like IBM have turned Gamification into their #1 lead generation channel, through their Innov8 Platform. Because the field is moving so quickly, it’s critical that people get together and not just share the successes, but also the failures — and how to make engagement work. That’s the objective at GSummit and what we hope to create for the community.”

Scott Dodson: “One of my favorite examples of gamification are the “piano stairs”—which is a VW campaign which can be found here. This implementation goes right to the heart of satisfying people’s intrinsic needs for “Competence,” and “Autonomy”, without relying on the overused tools of “points, levels, and badges”. The result is a behavior change with health benefits without the need for any extrinsic reward to be given. Another great example of a more typical (but very successful) implementation is hip hop artist Chamillionaire’s site. Powered by BigDoor, the site leverages gamification to create a stronger connection between Chamillionaire and his fans. Again, satisfying a critical intrinsic needs—this time “Relatedness”. The more fans share their love for the artist and his work, the more he personally connects with them, even providing personalized outgoing voicemail messages for their phone and inviting them backstage.”

Sebastian Deterding: “In Healthmonth.com, users can set themselves health rules for one month (like “exercise 5 times a week”), and every day receive a little e-mail asking them whether they stuck to their rules the day before. The service is excellent because it grants the user strong autonomy (choosing your own rules), has a forgiving language that alleviates discouragement, uses your logged data to make smart suggestions (“rule X seemed a bit difficult for you, why not try and lower it?”), and embeds activity in social help among players. What Codecademy, another favorite example of mine, does well is to put the actual activity to be learned—programming—front and center and structure it with goals and feedback in an enjoyable fashion. That’s how well-designed games work as well: You learn by doing, and you enjoy the doing itself, not being taught about it, or receiving rewards for it.”

Jesse Schell: “I spend a lot of time making transformational games—that is, games designed to change people in positive ways. Two of my favorites were a game to train firefighters to deal with terror attacks, and a game called PlayForward: Elm City Stories we recently did with Yale University. It is designed to help young inner city teens deal with situations involving sex and drugs, and hopefully to reduce the incidence of HIV.”

Meet The Experts

  • Sebastian Deterding is a researcher and designer working on persuasive and gameful design, head of the Gamification Research Network and co-editor of “The Gameful World” (MIT Press, 2013). He lives online at codingconduct.cc.
  • Scott Dodson (@gamebiz) is a serial entrepreneur, UX consultant, and gamification guru. He is a Founder and CPO of Bobber Interactive, and a Professor of Game Design at Digipen.
  • Jesse Schell is the founder of Schell Games and has been developing games for more than 10 years.
  • Gabe Zichermann is an author, highly rated public speaker, entrepreneur and the chair of GSummit (SF, April 16-18, 2013) where top gamification experts across industries gather to share knowledge and insight about customer & employee engagement and loyalty.

Featured image via Playbasis; Gamification in 2013 and Beyond