Jul 16, 2010

Game Mechanics at work in the Enterprise 2.0?

5 a side footballImage via Wikipedia
My ex-boss Gaurav blogs about a talk that Amy Jo Kim gave in his blog post Eight Tips for Using Game Mechanics to Design Fun and Functional Software Applications

This got me thinking why can business processes and Enterprise 2.0 software be designed to make them "fun" and engaging?

There are lots of research that talks about how mixing work and play is the key to innovation.

And don't we do it as HR people within organizations - I remember sending out emails with performance appraisal discussions completed schedules to groups - urging them to be the first one to finish - triggering their competitive juices.

Now imagine the badges of foursquare and the social aspects being built into business processes - people who do a certain activity first or better - become "experts" and they vie for that honor? A better way to generate an internal yellow pages? Maybe.

Reward and recognition systems that are peer-generated (social) is another aspect I think would catch on. Definitely better than today's manager mandated rewards :-)

How do you think game mechanics can be incorporated into work?

Here are the principles of game mechanics from Gaurav's blog post:
Amy talks about how five principles of game mechanics (collecting, points, feedback, exchanges and customization) can be combined with three trends of social media (accessibility, recombination, syndication) to design fun yet functional software applications.

Here are the five game design principles Amy talks about –

- Collecting: Players love to collect artifacts and complete sets.
- Points: Players love to be rewarded with points from the game itself or from other users. Points can be used for leveling up, for creating leaderboards, or for redemption for gifts.
- Feedback: Players love to get feedback from the game itself or from other users. Feedback can be about how they are doing against others, or even against themselves over time.
- Exchanges: Players love to engage in exchanges with other players. Exchanges can take the form of explicit trading or implicit gifting.
- Customization: Players love to customize their character or profile, and also their interface or dashboard.

Here are the three social media trends Amy talks about –

- Accessible: Social applications are becoming more accessible because of simpler user interfaces, but also across devices, often enabled by open APIs.
- Recombinant: The data from social applications can be combined into different types of activity streams.
- Syndicated: The data from social applications can be exported and showcased elsewhere using RSS feeds and widgets.

I specially like Amy’s distinction between game-generated points and feedback and social or human-generated points and feedback, which reminded me of Chris Dixon‘s (@cdixon) post on single-player and multi-player modes in applications.

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