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A considerable amount of blogs have been posted about gamification, but the complete picture still appears to hang on loose recommendations. For the most of us the essential building blocks are obvious, but then rises the question: ‘how to make it happen’. Based on a recently implemented business game, I will clarify the process how to gamify. This case study concerns the contact center of Knab, an online bank located in the Netherlands. I will structure the mix of different aspects such as fun, game, player journey and experience and the development of measurable and above all sustainable systems to serve business goals in a roadmap.
Before we go through the steps of the process, once again the definition of gamification: Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics in a non-game context. Gamification is all about learning from games. And we can learn from games by not trying to understand the games themselves, but by using the principles that make a game a success.
Games are popular and successful. Look at the game Angry Birds, this game was downloaded more than a billion times. Another aspect that I want to give you is that gamification is more then just adding game elements. Of course it’s fun to collect as many points or win badges. But as I see it, gamification is not a ‘tool’ but a strategic choice.
Start with a search for the strategic objectives. This sounds obvious, but too often I see game elements being stuck on environments without thinking which higher goals are actually superior. Without having these objectives concrete, you actually can start a gamification project, but it is most likely to fail.
And I’m not talking about your overall strategic objectives such as profitability, but specific goals for your gamification project such as increasing employee efficiency.
Tip: make a list of potential objectives. As specific as possible. Place them in order of importance. You might already loose the objectives that are at the bottom of your list. Ask yourself: If I would have success reaching this objective would I be satisfied? Make sure your list does not contain objectives that are means rather than goals.
Gamification has become a trend in recent years. More and more companies recognize the benefits and have started to apply game elements for their internal and external business processes. Gamification has also been addressed by the different software development phases in order to influence people’s behavior in a positive manner. Different gamified tools exist to support requirements gathering, software development and software testing allowing to improve the overall quality of software engineering.
Gamification is the use of game design elements in a non-game contexts and intents to increase engagement, create behavioral changes, stimulate innovation and solve business problems. It is already being used in various applications such as marketing; customer engagement, education and training.
In this study the functioning of gamification is investigated, as well as the development of a gamification framework and the effects of the implementation of gamification on human behavior. In order to examine whether behavior can be influenced by the use of gamification there was a lab situation created for which a contact center game was developed.
The result show a significant difference in behavior after the implementation of gamification. This study therefore demonstrates that gamification has the potential to influence and control human behavior.
The Stanford “marshmallow” test is a famous experiment conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. Its purpose was to measure preschoolers’ ability to delay gratification. The experiment, conducted by psychologists Walter Mischel and Ebbe Ebbesen, consisted of presenting a child with two options: get a reward immediately or a get a larger one later.
A child could receive one marshmallow (or another favorite treat – a cookie or pretzel) immediately, or, the child could get two marshmallows later. The two marshmallows were given only if the child waited for 15-20 minutes to pass, seated alone in a room with a table on which stood a plate with the two marshmallows and a bell. The child could ring the bell to call the researcher back into the room before the allotted time. If the child managed to wait the entire time, they got the two marshmallows. If they called the researcher, they could have just one.
Most children chose to delay the reward and not receive the immediate one marshmallow. Of the children that chose to delay the reward, about one-third managed to wait the time required for eligibility for the full two marshmallows.
Originally, the purpose of the experiment was to gain a better understanding of how children develop deferred gratification and their strategies for maintaining the ability to wait for a greater reward. Children’s strategies varied – self distraction, imagining the two marshmallows are “just a picture”, humming, singing, kicking furniture, rocking on chairs and even turning their back on the marshmallow.
The full significance of the marshmallow test was realized in its follow-on studies. In 1988 Mischel found that preschoolers that did well on the original test, were described by parents, ten years later as more competent adolescents. Later on success in the test was correlated with higher SAT scores (210 points more compared to the most impatient children), educational attainment and even lower body mass index measurements. Successful delay gratification also correlated with better mental health outcomes.