The benefits of gamification and an approach for implementation

13 July 2017 5 min. read
More news on

In recent years, gamification has taken off as a new and innovative way of facilitating strategic and behavioural change. According to research and advisory firm Gartner, today more than 70% of global 2,000 organisations have at least one ‘gamified’ application operating across their footprint. Alessio Villanacci, a Senior Consultant at Sia Partners in London, reflects on how gamification can drive the adoption of new ways of working and sets out the steps leaders can take to implement serious gaming.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of driving adoption of a specific target behaviour through the combination of motivational psychology and technology. In essence, gamification integrates established rules or methods designed to engage people into an existing task or activity with the aim to stimulate participation, engagement, and adoption. This process takes the data-driven techniques that game designers use to engage players, and applies them to non-game experiences to lead the workforce to adapt desired behaviours.

How does it work?

The game mechanics on which gamification is based leverage basic human psychological needs such as the sense of competence, autonomy, and relatedness to drive interest, engagement and participation in a specific activity.

Any combination of the following game mechanics can be tailored to achieve business objectives:

Gamification - Sia Partners

How are companies using gamification to solve problems?

The application of game mechanics to business problems ranges from fostering creativity to driving productivity and encouraging behaviours that reduce costs. While there is evidence of gamification being applied to a wide range of processes, the approach is best applied to cognitive tasks due to their permanent learning curve; the more any given task of this type is performed, the better the results.

The following are some examples of how companies have utilised gamification to stimulate target behaviours and reach business objectives:

  • Supporting recruiting efforts – any firm recruiting for talent faces the challenge of picking the right candidate in a short time with a shrinking budget. To solve this problem companies like Siemens and Marriot use games to eliminate unsuitable candidates quicker while giving all prospect a fun and effective way to learn more about their potential job and its requirements. For example, Plantsville, introduced by Siemens, is a game based on managing a plant.
  • Gathering customer data – Aviva Italy has developed a mobile app to gather data on their customer driving habits. Every 300 kilometres it provides a rating of 1 to 10 on how the user has been driving. At the end of a trip, it also provides feedback on cornering, fuel efficiency, and accelerating and braking skills. Badges can be earned and shared on Facebook and Twitter. The point and badge system leads to tailored quotes for customers and better insight on risk allocation for the insurer.

Gamification can also help in adopting new ways of working

Adopting new tools and developing new capabilities is a journey best understood through the lens of change management. Sia Partners defines change management as the discipline of preparing individuals, teams, and organisations to transition to a desired future state. In successfully moving an organisation towards a defined ‘vision’, buy-in its from people is essential. This is where gamification can provide real benefit to the change management process. 

By leveraging game mechanics to satisfy basic human psychological needs, gamification can motivate workers to perform tasks over and over again while incentivising improvement through rewards and healthy competition. In stimulating enthusiastic participation, gamification can speed up the transition of the ‘new’ way of working towards ‘business as usual’; new behaviours become embedded into the company culture and sustainable, value adding change is achieved.

Bluewolf, an IBM company, offers a practical example of how gamification can be used to change a company’s culture. Bluewolf builds customer experience solutions for Salesforce platforms and used gamification to increase their internal and external collaboration while building a culture of sharing. Employees are rewarded for writing blog posts, replying to internal conversations and engaging in social media-oriented tasks.

Approach for the implementation of gamification

To support the implementation of gamification, Sia Partners has developed a 7 step approach:

Approach for gamification implementation

In Sia’s view, adopting this approach to a small pilot project is the best way to prove the value of gamification and its value in achieving effective change. The proof of concept will serve as a blueprint for the company to replicate this approach on transformation efforts elsewhere in the business. 

Related: Capgemini Consulting on the 5 advantages of gamification.