Gamification for Collaboration Potential

Tim from ISW in Australia writes about the role of gamification techniques to unlock hidden collaboration potential:

“If you can measure it you can improve it” is an old business adage that is easily applied to performance criteria such as manufacturing output levels or sales quotas. But, how can you apply measurement metrics to the more subjective sciences of collaboration and business success? Simple, the answer is “gamification.”

Lewis E. Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once said, “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” He commented that with improved collaboration, HP could improve its business performance threefold.

The following chart assumes an organizational performance level of 30 percent. By encouraging users to adopt social software through gamification, we have the opportunity to improve performance and drive bottom-line returns.

Since I wrote a book on strategies for user adoption, it should be no surprise that I’m interested in techniques and approaches that encourage user adoption. To Tim’s point, if adoption of social software is directly linked with improving performance and bottom-line results … then that’s something which management should encourage and support. There’s a whole set of strategies in my book for helping people adopt new approaches and ways of working.

Gamification—or more broadly offering incentives for participation—may help with this, but I wouldn’t use it as the single strategy. To reinforce and support a wider user adoption approach – yes, it can have a role to play. As with providing incentives for participation, my concern is that (a) when the rewards stop, so does usage, and (b) people learn to game the system for their personal benefit, not because what they’re doing adds value to the business.

So … yes, gamification can have a role to play. But it needs to be orchestrated carefully to encourage the right long-term behaviors.

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