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Enterprise Gamification – increasing engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, or learning in your workforce.


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Wait don’t run away..

Yes; I have seen a lot of hatred and confusion over this term – CEOs going “I don’t want my employees to play I want them to WORK.. There is a reason I blocked facebook.. ..”

But wait; it’s not all that bad once you understand the concept, just forget about the word gamification.

So first what is gamification?

Wikipedia defines it as the ability to take game design techniques, thinking and mechanics and apply them to enhance a non-game applications and processes.
Changing the way in which employees interact and work by making their daily chores, tasks considered as boring – more engaging and encouraging them to enjoy the tasks they used to avoid such as filling out time sheets to expense claim forms into a more enjoyable experience.

If you play any MMORPGs “I don’t ;) ” but if you do you will be familiar with a term called “grinding”.. No and it’s not a game dance move either..
It describe the process of engaging in repetitive and boring tasks not pertaining to the story line of the game. Now thousands of millions people do this everyday – this activity is in all MMORPGS and gamers dont get paid.. They do this to advance their character level to be able to access newer content.
So you can see there is an incentive, goal to the process and they do it because they are driven to achieve that goal, although it does not pertain to the story line of the game.

Today I came across an old video link in an email a colleague had sent to me last year I just hadn’t had time to watch it.
But when I did it got me thinking back to gamification and rewards, goals to incentivate employees. You’ll be surpised it not all about money!!.

The surprising truth about what motivates us.


So a breif overview.. You need to check out the above video.

  1. Money does not incentivise, if cognitive skill is required. (Creative thinking)
  2. Money is a motivator at work (if you dont pay people enough they wont be motivated)
  3. 3 Factors lead to better performance & personal satisfaction
    • Autonomy - people like to be their own boss and not controlled by a manager.
    • Mastery – people love to learn and get better for free (look at unfunded open source projects)
    • Purpose -¬† we care and want to improve our lives at work or in our own time not led

So how can we tie in gamification methods into our applications?

It’s already being done!..
Don’t believe me. take a look at social networking sites like facebook or linkedIn..

Here are some of the gamification elements – Activity feeds, Personalisation, Badges and achievements, Leader board, progress bars..etc

Take a look at the oracle forums, or even metalink; badges are awarded to people who post the most helpful messages.
Becoming an Ace at Oracle it’s a goal many of us try to achieve, pushing us to write guides, help the community and present what can be achieved.
Gamification is already around us today it is just about knowing the best approach with integrating those proven solutions into your apps today!

WebCenter Spaces has taken that step already believe it or not; with its integrated OOTB taskflows; and services.
I’m hoping that when 12 is released we will start to see alot more of these concepts that make us enjoy working and out of the daily grind.

On a side note I met up with Ultan O’Brion¬†@ultan yesterday – Director, Global Applications User Experience for Oracle; talking user experience fusion apps as well as showing and talking about some of the things we work on here in the labs such as the xbox kinect integration with Oracle and our mobile solutions.
I can only describe him as a Rockstar in the Oracle world and I’ll be posting more in my next blog post on Oracle resource sites I was unaware of but really do help when it comes to planning UI and ADF.

Be sure to follow his blog if your into UX, Fusion Apps and gamification and something new I learnt about simplyifying your user experience look at comic books tile based approach to a visual story board look at the metro UI at BBC or BAE Systems new portal. Simplyfying your content with the right imagery and headlines and not smuthering users with information overload like so many websites do today.. Comicfication.. .. ;)

5 Responses to “Enterprise Gamification – increasing engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, or learning in your workforce.”

  1. jgarry says:

    One of many threads on the forums pointing (hah!) out the downside of gamification. It favors the unwashed. Don’t you want your business to favor excellence? Experienced people get turned off by the feeling of being manipulated. This is just as bad (arguably worse, due to the additional layer of abstraction decontrolling measurable cause and effect) as an overly rigid and paternalistic hierarchy, aka bad management. The mistake you are making is to equivocate gamification with the motivations shown in the video.

    The FSF and wikipedia examples? They have a lifecycle, which is short and worse, unpredicatable.

    The startup companies? Most fail, and you never hear of them. Even most of the ones you hear of have several failures, or severe directional changes when small, in their pasts.

    Linux? It only works around all the mediocrity of OSS because of the Linus-centric benevolent despot model, plus the economics are not closed, it’s being force-fed by IBM and Oracle. As Jack Handy put it, “Hey! Free Dummy!”

    The genius of Facebook? They made spam palatable. Follow the money.

  2. John Sim says:

    I think your missing the bigger picture here Garry. Its not about making people feel manipulated, but changing their experience with applications and processes; getting away from the daily grind of “having too” moving them to a mentaility of “wanting too”.

    As for the Oracle thread; methodologies are constanstly improving; man I wish people got things right the first time they deployed; but without trial and error and enhancements progress wont be made. Do you think Stack Overflow got it right the first time? ;)

    I was not trying to equivocate gamification with motivation in the video, sorry if you saw it that way. What I was attempting to show that money does not incentivate and it is a mistake by many that it does; there are other ways and methods that can be seen within the dynamics of how users interact with games.

  3. jgarry says:

    I guess you missed my point. The unfortunate reality of people in the real world implementing badges and such is they lose sight of the reward. I agree, it is better to have people want to work than have to work. However, I see it over and over again – for example, HR buys some “healthy roads” system to get their employees healthy, healthy=happy, happy=productive. Non-smoking employees get annoyed at what become spam about how they would be healthier if they stopped smoking, and so on. It’s like that scene in Close Encounters Of the Third Kind where the guy is playing the keyboards and the ship is responding, then the computer takes over the keyboard and it all falls apart. The mistake is to confuse process with communication, you can’t automate human communication, a computerized analog like gamification gets stale fast, or at best over-stimulates mediocrity.

    I don’t think Overflow got it right the last time! That scenario only works for a small homogenized community with experts, and not always then.

    It simply isn’t true that things are always improving. Remember hardwired telephones? You picked them up, dialed them, and talked. Now? Consumer Reports had a big cover story on cellphones and plans a few months ago, and pointed out what should be obvious to everyone: As phones, cellphones suck. Need I go through the litany of corporate phone system hell?

    I see the same thing happening with workforce computer processes – note, I’ve been dealing with them since before there were PC’s. People want to do good work, you need to help that along. In the olden days, things kind of sucked, because you had formal design processes waterfalling down from people with overly mechanistic views of business processes. Nowadays it is worse, as you have groups of people cranking out whatever they think is good based on the constraints of the tools they are using. This does not evolve up the best, but rather, the best capitalized. The result is everyone wants to look like google or facebook, and the people that use it would indeed rather surf the web than do their work. Productivity paradox, increased investment in new tools leads to lower productivity. Oops!

  4. jgarry says:

    The other point about motivation – it is a mistake to think that because some people are motivated by other than money, that all people will be. Most work is not translatable to something enjoyable, and there are a number of motivations people have that are not easily translated to gamification.

    Here’s a useful challenge: How would you stop people from talking or texting on phones while driving?

  5. John, the cheque is in the post. Seriously, blown away by the Fishbowl stuff you’re doing. Will reach out. Back on topic – here’s a summary of a gamification event held in Oracle a few days ago (https://blogs.oracle.com/userassistance/entry/oracle_applications_gamification_worldwide_ux) as well as some thoughts on gamification in the enterprise (https://blogs.oracle.com/userassistance/entry/gamification_schamification_reality_isn_t) – the whole concept requires the same care and application to use cases as any other aspect of user experience. I wonder could ADF skinning play a role here too on applying the dynamics by user profile based on algorithm of past usage, sentiment analysis, and so on…

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