Driving Engagement in Social Business with Gamification

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The Social Science of Engagement

The Business Game Plan for Building Loyalty & Achieving Goals


Social Business Gamification

Today’s successful organizations are leveraging behavioral economics with a palette of game mechanics to create new types of user experiences that drive real engagement.

Social Business Gamification is the social science art of facilitating the desired behaviors of all players.  Deeper levels of engagement can be achieved through the practice of active listening.  The rewards are limitless when organizations satisfy the needs of their clients, partners, fans, and potential customers.  This type of social business strategy starts with understanding the culture of their target audience along with defining clear goals and objectives that support the concepts of design thinking.  The Harvard Business Review article about Design Thinking by IDEO’s Tim Brown is available for download as pdf here.

Rajat Paharia, Founder of Bunchball shares many very interesting points about how business owners can leverage Game Mechanics in Gamification to create deeper relationships through engagement.  He shares his thoughts on how new ways of Active Listening (through actions) can transform fans into loyal customers. Rajat describes learning about understanding how to connect with customers and what motivates clients. He makes an interesting point about the difference between points and credits.   He goes on to say business owners believe 50% of their advertising money is being wasted, but they don’t know which 50%.  Additional insights about Gamification by Rajat Paharia are available in this video.

Top 5 Keys to Successful Social Business Gamification

  1. Seek first to understand
  2. Define key business goals and objectives
  3. Learn how to satisfy business needs together with customer interest
  4. Create something bigger than yourself and your customer base
  5. Meaningful Engagement Has Meaningful Rewards

5 Keys to Driving Engagement with Smart Gamification

Some of the things Ragat talked about in the video above reminded me of many of the things Amy Jo Kim @amyjokim talked about in this webinar I attended on June 13, 2011.

To some, “gamification” means adding simple game mechanics like points, badges and leaderboards to websites and apps. But that’s not what makes games truly compelling. In this talk, social gaming expert Amy Jo Kim goes behind the scenes of successful gamification efforts, and reveals the 5 keys of Smart Gamification – a framework for driving deeper engagement in your product or service.

This gamification webinar was sponsored by Badgeville @Badgeville.  Amy shares a smart business game plan with “Smart Gamification: 5 Keys to Driving Engagement“.  Adena DeMonte @AdenaDeMonte of Badgeville has shared a recording of this great webinar here.

Smart Gamification

Social Game Design for a Connected World

Discover new social business strategies in this presentation by Amy Jo Kim, “Smart Gamification: Social Game Design for a Connected World“.  Learn about the Engagement Loop: Visible Progress, Positive Emotion, (social) Call to Action, Player (re)Engagement, and more.

These are the same proven strategies and techniques Amy Jo Kim shares in her book, “Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities“.  These Gamification Strategies and these types of Social Game Design techniques were used by me with others to create award winning software.  These platform types include: Intranet (Nielsen Norman Top Ten Intranet Design), Enterprise 2.0 (Open Enterprise Innovation Award), Enterprise App Stores (JackBe wins Top 10 Enterprise Products), and now Government 2.0 App Stores.

The key success factor behind these award winning platforms is: “Put people before technology“.  Several years ago I worked as a  contractor with a great team at NAVSEA on developing the VV&A Process for Modeling & Simulations.  This process was adopted by the U.S. Navy [pdf].  This process focused on 3 simple questions that address social software development today:

  1. Did we build the right thing?
  2. Did we build the thing right?
  3. Does it suit OUR needs?

ROI of User Experience

Culture at the Core

Putting culture at the core with a focus on user experience design is the fuel that powers immersive engagement. Great game designers are masters of this concept. Software developers are also seeing the benefits of focusing more attention on user experience. Businesses can save a tremendous amount of time and money by putting people before technology. Dr. Susan Weinschenk demonstrates how user centered design results in significant return on investment (ROI) in this video.

What’s Next for Gamification?

Here are a few things Rajat shared toward the end of his video.

Game Mechanics trickle into the Enterprise

  • How do you motivate Employees?
  • How do you provide sales incentives with Employees?
  • How do you practice Employee recognition?
  • How do you support employee health and wellness?

He may be on to something, Michael Wu @mich8elwu submitted the following session for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference. Why game mechanics and game dynamics are able to drive actions so effectively and predictably through the lens of behavioral psychology; the underlying behavior model which is necessary to bring about a change in behavior; and how to implement this in enterprise software, making it fun and productive.

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