Enterprise gamification: Are we looking at it from the wrong angle?

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Gamification in the enterprise has been long considered. Yet given the average millennial spends 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21, and as the millennial workforce continues to grow, the potential remains to improve employee productivity.

Plenty of companies in the space have been wallowing in VC funding to achieve this. Thailand-based startup Playbasis received $1.8 million in a series A round earlier this week, while in April GamEffective pulled in $3 million in a series A.

The use of gamification can be seen in multiple places, from the blatant, such as Foursquare, to the more subtle, like LinkedIn. When done correctly it can be a powerful engagement tool, even if it does have a high failure rate.

But not everybody agrees. Peter Rogers, principal architect at Cognizant, argues simply: “Don’t reward somebody for doing an awful monotonous task – fix the awful monotonous task.” Writing in a blog post, he flips the equation on its head.

“Imagine a video game where the objective was to complete your timesheet and it had the most amazing reward system ever,” he writes. “Every time you played the ‘Timesheet 2000’ arcade game you were able to enter your timesheet score in a global leader board where the top 10 people in the world were invited to a televised timesheet multiplayer event. Would I now enjoy entering my timesheet every month? No, I categorically would not.”

This makes for an interesting analysis. When Enterprise AppsTech has covered gamification strategies in the past, the quickest win was with regard to employee onboarding. Certain tasks the new employee needs to complete – formatting email signatures, getting a company photo taken and so on – are, let’s face it, a tad dull. Through gamification, such as rendering the tasks as a progress bar – similar to how LinkedIn does it – it could make a boring yet essential task less painful. Yet according to Rogers’ analysis, this doesn’t solve the problem.

The solution according to Rogers, citing another blog post from Planeto CEO Morten Grauballe, is to identify user experience loops which need to be completed many times and make them enjoyable to complete.

The core experience needs to be engaging; so with the aforementioned timesheet problem, elements like pre-loaded, pre-emptive pop-up menus, or an avatar which guides you through the process, should be considered. Rogers argues this is more indicative of game development and actually makes the problem less painful, as opposed to giving somebody an arbitrary badge at the end of it.

You can read the full post here. Do you agree with its opinion?


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