I was thinking about doing a post on product management, but with recent events and activities I felt the need to focus on a new concept, or trend I should say, called gamification. According to Dopamine (a creative agency focused on fun, innovative, gamified campaigns), gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage audiences (customers and employees) and solve problems. Put another way, it’s taking the best ideas from games and applying them in non-game contexts. The art and science of creating lasting engagement brings together best practices from social games, behavioral economics, and loyalty in new and innovative ways.

I found out about gamification when I was doing research for my company, Gumption Entertainment, on trends in the industry. I cannot recall exactly how I stumbled upon it, but I thought it was a very intriguing concept to implement within my organization. This happened several months ago, but some recent activity I have been involved with brought the notion back to my attention.

Without getting into the details of my personal business, I would just say that when it comes to leading a team it is challenging to get them to collaborate on projects and perform. It is great when you have those who are go-getters, but for some, they need a little more incentive. And just because you may have a go-getter personality and work ethic, does not mean that you do not enjoy incentives either. In fact, I think the go-getters are probably even more competitive.

The point is that people relate and/or react to two things: status and incentives. A company called RedCritter has created a project management software program utilizing gamification. It is the only service with badges, rewards, leaderboards and real-time Twitter-style feeds. Sure, the program has the similar functionalities of other project management programs, but RedCritter’s intent is to help inspire your team and get more engagement out of everybody through friendly competition. It works by having the account manager add rewards. Each reward has its own level of points. The team members earn points by doing certain things and/or completing tasks. The members can also earn badges for numerous things, such as the Night Owl badge for those who do most of their work at night or the Photogenic badge for those who change their profile pic the most. Badges range from fun to more serious. If some of you would like more information, I have provided a video presentation below from Billy Rodgers of RedCritter.

Coincidentally, I previously went to an I/ITSEC convention where they had vendors from various companies with the latest, cutting-edge technology. Most of this technology is specifically used for military training, but there were some vendors there for other purposes. Do you know what must of that technology was? Simulation! Another form of gamification. People learn things better by actually doing things. It is very tough to simply read how to play the drums and then just go play like a professional. Through the art and science of simulation, humans can interact live, often within dangerous or stressful situations without the death defying consequences, and learn hands-on and in real-time.

As we can see, this is definitely one of the newest and hottest trends. The technology we are capable of creating and bringing to this world is astonishing! WOW! I am awed by what some of these people, or maybe even you, can come up with to make the world a better place. It makes me think of what we are going to have in the next 5, 10, 15 years. What it is going to be like when these amazing technologies we have now become common to us or obsolete like so many other products or methodologies have already. Virtual reality is not just a fantasy anymore. It is becoming a necessity and way of life. 

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