Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play

The Wall Street Journal apparently sent a reporter to the Gamification Summit a couple weeks back, because the paper of record surfaced an article about how "companies are trying to bring more play to the workday.” That reads like the agenda for the conference.

Gamification is the process of using game thinking to solve problems and engage audiences. Much like the phrase “social media” in the recent past, the word “gamification” is being lobbed around in marketing circles as the next frontier in web and mobile. Just as nearly every application, website, brand and marketer now employs social media in some capacity, so too will game mechanics be used in the years ahead.

Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging, a growing number of firms are incorporating elements of videogames into the workplace. This "gamification" of the workplace, or "enterprise gamification" in tech-industry parlance, is a fast-growing business. Companies have used digital games for a number of years to help market products to consumers and build brand loyalty. What's emerging is using games to motivate their own employees.

AXA Equitable was a hit at the Gamification Summit, for using competitive game play in an avatar-based world to engage consumers and make life insurance relevant and fun. Consumers find the Pass It On! video game on the web or on their iPhone, chose an avatar and create a virtual family, and decide their financial future by saving gold, managing expenses and making decisions about life insurance. Please follow this link to play the game and check out the New York Times coverage. (as a consumer-facing example of gamification was not in the WSJ)
Tech-industry research firm Gartner estimates that by 2014, some 70% of large companies will use the techniques for at least one business process. Market researcher M2 Research estimates revenue from gamification software, consulting and marketing will reach $938 million by 2014 from less than $100 million this year.

So far, the tactic has proved effective. A study last year by University of Colorado Denver Business School found that employees trained on video games learned more factual information, attained a higher skill level and retained information longer than workers who learned in less interactive environments.

Read more at the WSJ


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