Category Archives: Social Business

Social Business Gamification Strategy Secrets Revealed

How to Master Real Engagement

Gamification is a new item in the Gartner 2011 Technology Hype Cycle.  Organizations can leverage “Game Mechanics” and “Motivational Design” to drive real engagement.  Social Business Gamification strategies include the psychology and social science of game dynamics to support Behavioral Economics.

FUNdamentals of Real Engagement

The Game Mechanics Engagement Playdeck

SCVNGR has proven the value of using game mechanics for results driven business in their TheLeveUp platform.  Others can unlock new levels of engagement by learning how to think differently, from the customer’s perspective with “SCVNGR’s Game Mechanics Playdeck“.  People can print their own version of SCVNGR’s Game Mechanics Flash Cards. Here are a few concepts from this deck that can help other achieve the game-frame mind:

Epic Meanings

Definition: players will be highly motivated if they believe they are working to achieve something great, something awe-inspiring, something bigger than themselves.

Example: From Jane McGonical’s Ted Talk where she discusses Warcraft’s ongoing story line and “epic meaning” that involves each individual has motivated players to participate outside the game and create the second largest wiki in the world to help them achieve their individual quests and collectively their epic meanings.

Micro Leader-boards

Definition: The rankings of all individuals in a micro-set. Often great for distributed game dynamics where you want many micro-competitions or desire to induce loyalty.

Example: Be the top scorers at Joe’s bar this week and get a free appetizer.

Fixed-Interval Reward Schedules

Definition: Fixed interval schedules provide a reward after a fixed amount of time, say 30 minutes. This tends to create a low engagement after a reward, and then gradually increasing activity until a reward is given, followed by another lull in engagement.

Example: Farmville, wait 30 minutes, crops have appeared.

Social Business Gamification

Get Your Game Mechanics Playdeck Flash Cards Here

Healthy Behaviors with Gamification of Health

Gamification for Healthy Behaviors

“It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology”

Anyone that has ever been on a diet or has worked on creating healthy lifestyle habits can tell you that changing behavior is not easy. The path to success usually involves positive reinforcement from within and others. Negative behaviors from within or others can easily keep us from achieving our goals. This human behavior also applies to “Motivational Design”, as in the use of “Gamification” to help guide players through desired behaviors to achieve goals.

sunrise over water

It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology

Innovation Gamification

Gamification combined with Design Thinking can help us think differently about innovation. Leveraging this process with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) provides new levels of engagement for supporting desired behaviors. The seven phases of design thinking and a video about teaching design thinking through gamification are available here, “Design Thinking Gamification for Accelerating Innovation“.

Beyond Gamification of Healthy Behaviors

Gartner predicts that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will Gamify those processes, “The Gamification of Innovation in the Enterprise“. Gartner also added Gamification in their 2011 Technology Hype Cycle report. Gamification does have a lot of hype, but can also be used for good.

Robert Scoble recorded an amazing interview with keasAdam Bosworth that goes beyond Gamification for healthy behaviors. Adam candidly talks about the jagged rocks of failure scattered along the curves on the road to success. He also mentions numerous stats and facts, this within itself shows the value of understanding your audience and measuring what is important. There are a LIFETIME of lessons packed in this 41 minute video.

Quick Quotes

  • “Never start a web project as a platform problem”
  • “What are we really trying to do?”
  • “It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology”

Powerful Persuasive Points

  1. Help Solve Real Problems
  2. Positive Reinforcement is Powerful
  3. Make. Measure. Modify.
  4. Surface Specific Steps
  5. Think People Over Technology
  6. Seek First to Understand
  7. Practice Persuasive Design
  8. Group Size Affects Engagement
  9. ???

How Gamification of Health Works

The “Power of Play” guides behavior and changes attitudes about goals. See how keas works and why gamification of health is important in this video.


Twitter Gamification Gameboard

Gamification and the art of Motivational Design are complex topics, but there are many smart people and organizations willing to help. Here are several people and organizations on Twitter that are focused on Gamification, Game Mechanics, and Game Theory for engagement on this Twitter Gamification Gameboard. People can also connect with others by following this Gamification Twitter List.
[twitterusers @marigo @Seriosity @mbjorn @gzicherm @dingstweets @amyjokim @mich8elwu @mmartoccia @GrahamHill]

Creating Persuasive Experiences

Adam Bosworth talks about creating persuasive technology during the process of creating keas in his video interview. Persuasive Technology is broadly defined as technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviors of the users through persuasion and social influence, but not through coercion (Fogg 2002). Such technologies are regularly used in sales, diplomacy, politics, religion, military training, public health, and management, and may potentially be used in any area of human-human or human-computer interaction.

Here are a few resources for developing a strategy on creating persuasive experiences.

Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab: By empowering millions of people to create persuasive experiences with technology, we will have thousands, and perhaps millions, of forces working toward the better in the world.

Stanford Behavior Design: The best design solutions today change human behavior. Yet despite decades of research, challenges remain for people who design to influence. First, “persuasion” seems a dirty word. It shouldn’t be. We should now embrace that we’re in the business of behavior change. Next problem: conceptual confusion. The landscape of persuasion can be disorienting, muddied by impractical theories and over-hyped techniques. Our new work provides a clear view of behavior change, including language that is simple yet accurate.

Stanford Game Theory: Game theory is the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among economic agents produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those agents, where the outcomes in question might have been intended by none of the agents.

The Gamification Summit NYC is the must-attend event that shows you how to use the power of games to create breakthrough engagement with your customers and employees. Companies like Gilt Groupe, Google, Microsoft, NBC/Universal, MTV, Recyclebank and Aetna have leveraged gamification to transform their businesses, and will share startling insights, statistics and hands-on workshops at GSummit NYC.

Design Thinking Gamification for Accelerating Innovation

The Game has Changed

Are REAL Players Thinking Differently?

While visiting several Smithsonian museums in Washington DC, I was awestruck by this Nation of Innovation.  Extraordinary innovations from seemingly ordinary people.  These great innovators (creators of print, electricity, human flight, …) are actually very similar to people we see everyday.  So, what makes a great innovator?  Were these innovative players design thinkers?  Did they accomplish these great achievements by leveraging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), core technological underpinnings of an advanced society, and apply Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Design Thinking

Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the “building up” of ideas. There are no judgments early on in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototype phases. Outside the box thinking is encouraged in these earlier processes since this can often lead to creative solutions.  An example of a design thinking process could have seven stages: define, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement, and learn. Within these seven steps, problems can be framed, the right questions can be asked, more ideas can be created, and the best answers can be chosen. The steps aren’t linear; they can occur simultaneously and can be repeated.

Teaching design thinking through gamification

Design Ethnography is  a discipline which teaches you how to observe what people do in order to identify hidden needs for which you can design new solutions. It’s one of a group of skills that have never been part of the early educational curriculum before. Recent experiments in imparting these skills using “game dynamics” show that it’s astonishingly easy to quickly turn places where learning motivation is often almost unattainable into a hive of surprisingly self-motivated promising design-thinking innovators.

Mickey McManus is president, CEO, and principal of MAYA Design, Inc.  He shares examples of STEM SEL Design Thinking in the video.

5 Discovery Skills of Great Innovators

So what makes innovators different from the rest of us?  Innovators engage the following behavioral skills more frequently:

  1. Connecting. Innovators connect fields, problems, or ideas that others find unrelated
  2. Questioning. Innovators are consummate questioners who show a passion for inquiry.
  3. Observing. Innovators are also intense observers.
  4. Networking. Innovators spend a lot of time and energy finding and testing ideas through a diverse network of individuals who vary wildly in their backgrounds and perspectives.
  5. Experimenting. Finally, innovators are constantly trying out new experiences and piloting new ideas.

8 Pillars of Innovation

Google’s Susan Wojcicki says the key to innovation is, “Nurturing a culture that allows for innovation”.  She went on to share these foundational 8 Pillars of Innovation.

  1. Have a Mission that­ Matters
  2. Think Big but Start Small
  3. Strive for Continual Innovation, not Instant Perfection
  4. Look for Ideas Everywhere
  5. Share Everything
  6. Spark with Imagination, Fuel with Data
  7. Be a Platform
  8. Never Fail to Fail

What if Problem Solving was Fun?

The Gamification of World Peace

Most people think their problems are a world crisis.  What if solving real problems was fun?  John Hunter shares his experience of the world peace game in this enlightening video.

Tools and Resources

Social Innovation Toolkit

The Innovator’s Toolkit provides system-level change strategies, tips and tools culled from the experience of innovators driving change in communities across the country.  The Innovator’s Toolkit is also based on a framework for advancing innovation.

Mozilla Open Badges Project

Today’s learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it’s often difficult to get credit for it.  Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University are working to solve this problem by developing an Open Badges infrastructure.  Learn more here.

Gamification Game Plan for Reducing Cost of Employee Turnover

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Human Resources Gamification

Reducing High Cost of Employee Turnover

One day I was having lunch with some of the management team of our human resources department and was shocked to discover the outrageous cost of employee turnover.  This information lead me to performing some additional research on the issues and the organization’s culture.  A few days later I was invited to give a presentation on my ideas about possible solutions.

I presented an idea about a new platform to facilitate connecting employees to support fueling innovation.  I called this platform “Mentor Match”, some of my colleagues laughed at me when I compared this new platform to a dating web site.  More of them grumbled when they saw things like “favorite sport teams, places, books, movies, …” in the employee profile mock-ups.  I just explained that we are not a factory of robots, but an organization of human beings.  Our goal here is to provide people with the seeds of initial interaction for growing meaningful relationships.  The mentor feedback loop, leaderboards, education, skills, and recommendation engine won them over.  A new platform was born.

The game mechanics and gameful design used in this solution supports the concepts of gamification.  I believe real gamification success is achieved when interactions continue beyond the platform.  These interactions included mentoring circles, speed mentoring events and employees creating lasting friendships supporting emotional bonds and psychological connections to the organization. This was created on the REAL foundation supporting the Pillars of Purpose.

The REAL Foundation

Supporting the Pillars of Purpose

Small things can make a huge difference. Do you believe the words “who” and “how” have the same letters by accident? How solutions solve problems is not possible without the letters from the word “who”. The R.E.A.L. Foundation helps us discover “how” by focusing on “who”. R.E.A.L. was inspired by Rob Forbes’ works in “Design & Culture“.



Social Business Gamification

Unlocking the Power of Meaningful Engagement

Today’s smart business owners are applying this same type of strategy to strengthen relationships with customers, clients, & partners.  They now  have the opportunity reach beyond Twitter Followers, Facebook Fans, and other Social Media channels to harness the power of meaningful engagement.  Many name brands are achieving new levels of engagement with Social Business Gamificaiton.  Business owners can use services provided by several big players in the gamificaiton market to step up their customer relationship game.

Rypple combines the best qualities of social software with a new approach to performance management-one that empowers managers and their teams to learn faster and perform better.  Rypple is based on 50+ years of behavioral science, focusing on what really keeps people passionate about their work.

Badgeville, The Social Loyalty Platform, makes it easy for business leaders, smart marketers and innovative technologists to increase user behavior and conversions with proven techniques from social gaming.

Bunchball’s Nitro platform drives participation, engagement, loyalty and revenue for customers including Syfy, USA Network, Hearst, Meredith, NBC, Comcast, Victoria’s Secret PINK, Resource Interactive, Exent, LiveOps, Warner Bros. and Hasbro. Brands, publishers, employers and CPG companies use the Nitro gamification platform to create compelling, meaningful and enjoyable experiences for their users.

BigDoor helps web publishers, marketers and developers grow and engage their communities.  They offer a cost-effective, flexible and easy to use suite of tools to quickly build game mechanics into your online experiences and applications.

Cloudcaptive provides Social Business Gamificaiton services and products.

UserInfuser offered by Cloudcaptive, is an open source platform that provides customizable gamification elements designed to increase user interaction on websites.  The project involves badging, points, live notifications, and leaderboards. Additonally, the platform provides analytics to track user participation.

AppFusions is an engineering consultancy of experts creating implementations, solutions, connectors.  They have Social Business Strategy consultants and specialists around the world that are ready to help you with your Gamification needs.  The friendly professional people at AppFusions can help, contact AppFusions today.  You can also catch up with Ellen Feaheny (CEO of AppFusions) on Twitter at: @ellenfeaheny

Gamification Strategy

Your Gamification Strategy should compliment your Social Business Strategy.  Developing well defined goals along with an understanding of your audience will improve your levels of success.  The magic of gameful design, the social science of game dynamics, and the implementation of great game mechanics will help you achieve desired results when coupled with a long-term business strategy.

Additional Gamificaiton Resources

Please feel free to share your gamification resources and ideas here.


Driving Engagement in Social Business with Gamification

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.