Gamification Can Reap Digital Business Benefits

Gamification has tremendous potential, but right now most organizations aren't getting it right, a Gartner report found.

Digital business leaders are using gamification to add value to the product offer, to increase employee engagement and to drive crowd-sourced innovation, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

Gamification-- the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems--has become an essential part of any digital business strategy as a way of digitally motivating people and overcoming barriers of scale, time, distance, connectedness and cost, the report said.

"Organizations should use gamification to empower their customers, employees and communities to reach their goals. Gamification is about motivating people to achieve their own goals, not the organization's goals," Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "The sweet spot for gamification is shared goals. If a business can identify the goals it shares with its audience or provide its audience with goals that are meaningful to them, then it can leverage gamification to motivate these players to meet those goals, and the company will achieve its business outcomes as a consequence."

Gamification has tremendous potential, but right now most organizations aren't getting it right, and while the road to gamification success is full of pitfalls, and many companies don't understand how critical player motivation is to success, according to the report’s findings.

Organizations should shift their focus to emotional engagement if they want to truly motivate people, although the findings indicated most organizations rely primarily on transactional engagement strategies in their interactions, for example by focusing on employees' concern to earn a living and to meet the minimal expectations of the employer.

"Game mechanics and design have been used to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals throughout recorded history," Burke continued. "Gamification is about rethinking motivation in a world where we are more often connected digitally than physically. It is about building motivation into a digitally connected world. And we are just getting started in this journey. Gamification will continue to develop for many years to come."

While business leaders must understand the opportunities to leverage gamification to digitally motivate customers, employees and communities, senior business and IT leaders also need to understand gamification and fuse it into their digital business strategy.

"IT leaders need to rethink how they can design solutions for engagement rather than just efficiency," the report noted. "Organizations that are more aggressively adopting gamification already have multiple gamified solutions in place that support different business areas, address different target audiences, and achieve a wide range of business objectives."