The benefits of gamification and an approach for implementation

13 July 2017 Consultancy.uk

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.

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How a change toolkit can help consultants deliver transformation

23 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Changefirst is a company that provides a cloud-based transformational change toolkit to consultants and companies. David Miller, Founder of Changefirst, sat with Consultancy.uk to discuss how the toolkit known as ‘Roadmap Pro’ adds value to consultants. 

When David Miller called time on his 15-year career with American Express to found Changefirst in 1995, change management was a different animal altogether. According to Miller, even as recently as five years ago, the business of change was much more manageable. The pace of change was slower and project timescales were longer.

Since then, however, the accelerating pace of change and the widespread impact of digital transformation has completely transformed the role of change management professionals. Those working in change management now face more projects, with diversified end-goals, new ways of working (e.g. agile), and are left with shorter timescales to deliver them. The drastic alteration in the sector prompted the IT and services company based in West Sussex to develop a new SaaS-based toolkit for implementing change more effectively.

An example of this is that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based services in the HR technology space have been steadily increasing in recent years, as companies explore ways in which to reduce costs and access new innovation in the space. SaaS can reduce the cost of ownership, an HR department’s dependence on IT support, improve employee experience, and increase the speed at which value is yielded by change.

How a change toolkit can help consultants deliver transformation

Speaking to Consultancy.uk, Miller explained, “The pressure from digital transformation and the race to reinvent business processes means that the sheer pace and volume of change projects can be overwhelming and chaotic. Organisations needed a whole new way to respond to the challenge – one that is quick and easy to use and supported collaborative working; one that is online and can rapidly scale across the organisation itself. We saw these trends emerging and they were the inspiration for developing the Roadmap Pro tool as a SaaS-based approach to implementing change projects.”

Consulting sector

The SaaS toolkit provided by Changefirst, named Roadmap Pro, has the potential to yield value for consulting industry incumbents, as they are so often drafted in by clients to oversee complex change programs. However, firms might still be skeptical of the need for an external tool to do something that in essence is already part of their core business, and something they theoretically know inside out.

When asked how Changefirst believes it can make inroads into the consulting sector, Miller noted that not all consulting firms have the same level of change management capabilities. Indeed, the toolkit is designed to be tailored to firms, depending on their level of know-how.

“Our solution can help and how consultants choose to use it is likely to differ based on the change management maturity of their firm," Miller explained. "The more capable firms can utilise Roadmap Pro to increase productivity, improve client delivery, consistency and to rapidly on-board new hires and contractors. Less capable firms also might want all these benefits too, but it's highly likely they also want the ability to rapidly increase their client-facing change management capabilities.”

The toolkit is an ‘Out-of-the-Box’ solution, supported by Changefirst’s service offering, which enables clients to deliver higher time-to-value returns compared to other approaches. It is mostly configurable, and the ability to customise it is increasing during 2019, with Changefirst working with new clients to make changes that ensure the software meshes with their clients' implementation methods, while giving them the advantages of the installed content. The system takes the best practice content the firm has built up since it first launched, and makes it available in a state-of-the art, SaaS-based software solution.

“We’ve spent 25 years building our ‘best practice’ model," Miller added. "We have a huge database, that we are able to query, and that tells us a lot about what is happening during change projects. We continuously synthesise that with the lessons we have learned from working with over 300 organisations around the world. This has enabled us to build a methodology which was described by Forrester Research as one of the three most used change management methodologies in the world.”

“We’ve spent 25 years building our ‘best practice’ model... We continuously synthesise that with the lessons we have learned from working with over 300 organisations around the world.”
– David Miller, Changefirst

Roadmap Pro uses this wealth of experience for three key building blocks, which integrate these capabilities: effective online learning; change management diagnostics and analytics; and pre-populated change management planning. It also creates high levels of client engagement, enabling consultants to easily collaborate with clients.

Feedback

There have been some fears in the consulting sector that the leveraging of technology could risk the cannibalisation of hourly work. However, Miller regards this more as an opportunity than a problem.

He argued, “If you look at all the reporting from the analyst community, it’s becoming clear that clients want more digital support and what is called 'Reusable Assets'. In other words, they want IP that consultants have used left behind so they can continue to use it. Consultants now have a big opportunity to create continuous revenue streams and client ‘stickiness’ by using digital tools on assignments and then letting clients continue to use their tools. These firms will also sell more hours and generate more opportunities by on-selling and supporting clients' use of the tool.”

Indeed, the benefits seem to have already been judged to outweigh the perceived risks. Roadmap Pro was only launched in early 2018, but Changefirst’s partners are already using it to deliver a variety of major projects. These include usage in a major real estate change for a European media company; in the outsourcing global IT services for a Brazilian manufacturing company; for implementing a new global HR business model for a European chemical company; and for implementing industry changing technologies for both infrastructure and for new ways of working in a major transportation organisation.

According to Miller, clients have already presented the toolkit with “tremendous” feedback. The interface and the marriage of content and software have drawn particular praise, but Miller concluded that the bigger picture here is that Roadmap Pro can help the firms looking to challenge the Big Four. Indeed, with many firms looking to leverage technology to increase their competitiveness and digital presence, technology like Roadmap Pro is undoubtedly playing a role in seeing such companies win more of the bids against larger organisations around the world.