Book review: Gamify – How gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things
In his book, “Gamify: How gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things”, industry analyst Brian Burke at Gartner, Inc., takes a look at the whats, whys and hows of gamification.
Entertain, compensate, motivate: three common elements of a loyalty program. According to Burke, however, whereas games and rewards typically take a monetary approach to increasing sales, gamification – the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals – works on a deeper, more personal level, motivating people to change their behavior or develop skills by leveraging social capital and self-esteem.
“Gamify” is a practical guide that takes a two-part look at the whats, whys and hows of gamification. Part I introduces gamification as a concept, describes how it can be used to change behavior, develop skills and drive innovation, and follows up with practical examples.
According to Burke, gamification works because it addresses three elements of motivation:
Autonomy: People can choose whether they want to opt in or not and then make their own choices as they proceed through the game.
Mastery: As they master the game, players receive constant positive feedback, motivating them to try even harder. This moves the player past a traditional evidence-based rewards program and into the realm of the emotional checkmate.
Purpose: Unlike typical games, gamification has an overriding purpose. Writes Burke, “gamification engages players on an emotional level to help them achieve a goal that is meaningful to them.”
Part II takes the reader step-by-step through designing and then launching a gamified solution; what he calls the “player experience design process”. He also describes common reasons why gamification initiatives fail, one of which is creating a game no one wants to play.
As Burke explains: “Gamification is about motivating people to achieve their own goals, not the organization’s goals.” It is not about making activities look like a video game nor is it a means to getting people to do something they don’t want to do, he continues. At just about the time the reader begins to ask himself how gamification could possibly be relevant to his company, Burke continues by explaining that “if the player’s goals are aligned with the organization’s goals, then the organizational goals will be realized as a consequence of the player achieving his own goals.” In other words, gamification is not about fun. It is about purpose.
Purpose is where gamification meets loyalty programs. In a nutshell, both are means to strengthen channel relationships, instill loyalty and build commitment using different types of incentives. With loyalty programs, monetary rewards are the carrot. Gamification rewards progress on a deeper emotional level.
Burke reminds us, “Nobody wins the human race. The only way to win in life is to set your own course, to work hard, to achieve your goals and to contribute to something that is bigger than yourself.” One of those goals, he suggests, is to do whatever we can to work well together. After all, he continues, “We don’t win individually, we win together.”
For more information on gamification and incentive programs, view our webinar recording: Gamification – taking partner relationship management to the next level.